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Area sellers getting better prices; building steady


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Johnson County residents looking for a home to buy don’t have as many options as a year ago, and prices are up.

But neither is bad for the housing market. Homes are selling within a few months, and residents are willing to build new homes again, local real estate agents said.

In 2013, 1,004 homes sold in Johnson County from January to May. That number fell to 905 this year, about a 10 percent drop.

One reason for the decrease in sales is that investors bought up most of the area’s foreclosed homes last year to use as rental properties, and not many investment properties are left to buy at three or more at a time, said Michael Crafton, owner of Landtree Realtors in Greenwood. Sales of those foreclosed properties had been boosting overall sales figures.

 

With fewer foreclosed homes, the housing market of owner-occupied homes is as strong as it was last year, he said.

The lower number of homes selling is also due to the supply, said real estate agent Sherie Howard of Keller-Williams in Greenwood. As with last year, homes are getting multiple interested buyers and typically sell within 60 days, she said.

“I’m seeing a drop simply because the inventory, I believe, is down. Buyers are still out there. We need more homes on the market,” she said.

And with fewer homes for sale, owners are asking for and getting better prices, Crafton said.

“I normally tell my sellers, ‘Now you can get better deals than a year ago,’” he said.

“The investment properties are gone, and homes are selling for what they should be selling for now.”

The average sales price of $157,350 so far this year is a 7 percent increase over last year.

Because homes are selling for more, homeowners no longer are waiting to sell like they did in the past when they couldn’t find buyers willing to pay more than they owed on their mortgage, Howard said.

That means homeowners are more likely to make money when they sell their home, she said.

More confidence in the housing market also has motivated more residents

to build new, keeping homebuilding steady in the county, Mike Duke of Duke Homes in Bargersville said.

He’s noticed increasing demand for new homes over the past 18 months, he said.

His company is building custom homes in several subdivisions throughout the county, including in the Center Grove area and in Serenity Woods in Bargersville, and is starting Homesteads at Hillview, a new subdivision in Franklin.

Buyers are particularly interested in building new houses in the $300,000 to $400,000 price range, Duke said.

“They’re starting to see they can sell their existing homes, and they can do something,” he said.

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