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Home market moves upward

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A Greenwood woman expected to wait a year or longer to sell her parents’ log home in the Center Grove area.

After her parents died, Janet Kleingartner was looking to sell the house as soon as she could. She put $30,000 into updates and renovations, including new carpet, dropped the price of the home from $330,000 to $300,000, and then accepted an offer of $275,000 after five months of having the home listed for sale.

And the family that bought the house had just sold their old home off of Olive Branch Road in less than three months.

The local housing market is improving in 2013, experts said.


Home sales have increased about 20 percent throughout central Indiana over the last year.

And inventory — the amount of homes that are for sale — also has decreased about 17 percent since March 2012, driving up demand for homes.

“Sales are up and inventory is low. We need more houses,” Cal Findley, managing broker with T.C. Realty Group in Franklin said.

“It’s on the uptick. I don’t know if I’d call it a boom or a seller’s market, but it’s a good time to put their home on the market.”

The combination of more people looking to buy and fewer houses for sale is beginning to give an advantage to sellers. Houses took an average of about four months to sell a year ago, and are now selling in three months.

Buyers are having a harder time finding the right house because there are fewer houses for sale, experts said.

The average sale price in Johnson County has dropped about

2 percent since last year, but

average prices in central Indiana have risen about 5 percent,

according to F.C. Tucker Co. statistics.

“We are seeing situations where if a property is priced properly, and I need to stress that, if it is in fact priced properly, we’re seeing significant levels of interest on it. And it’s not uncommon for us to have multiple offers for those,” Tom Myers, regional manager for Carpenter Realtors, said.

But sellers could start getting more for their homes if demand remains high, local agents said.

The number of houses listed for sale in Indianapolis and the seven surrounding counties dropped to about 10,000 in March 2013, a decrease of about 17 percent from the same time in 2012. Part of that decrease is due to more homes selling. But local real estate agents said the decrease in the number of homes for sale is also a sign that people don’t want or need to sell their home now.

The lack of supply in the region is driving up demand and people looking to buy houses are having a hard time finding the right house, Pat Watkins, an agent with Mike Watkins Real Estate Group said. And homeowners are seeing their houses sell much quicker.

Kleingartner of Greenwood

listed her parents’ home on 10 acres on Travis Road in the Center Grove area in September. Even before she lowered the price, buyers were looking at the house in multiple open houses, she said.

“I thought it was quick, especially for it being a specialty home. We thought we might have to sit on it a year or two,” Kleingartner said.

Erin Olson and her husband were able to buy the Travis Road home after searching for about five months, which she said was less time than she expected. Her family was temporarily living with her parents after selling their previous home in Olive Branch Manor in just two and a half months.

Johnson County homes are also selling faster, compared to a year ago.

In 2012, the average number of days a home stayed on the market was 112, which dropped to 92 days in the first quarter of this year, according to statistics from F.C. Tucker Co. In central Indiana, the average number of days a home is on the market has decreased about 10 percent since 2012 to 100 days.

The low amount of houses for sale right now could have an impact on prices, causing buyers to have to offer a little more in order to get the house they want, Myers said.

“I do believe that they’re crawling up here in central Indiana. The real value of a home is growing by a rate that is healthy by central Indiana standards. Certain neighborhoods or certain areas may have grown even more,” he said.

Across central Indiana, the average sales price for homes increased about 5 percent from a year ago. In Johnson and Boone counties, average sale prices have fallen about 2.5 percent.

But one real estate agent believes current increases in sale prices could be due to homes that were purchased through foreclosure or short sales for lower amounts in recent years, Myers said. For example, upscale homes often weren’t selling unless a buyer found a home selling for significantly less than its actual value, he said.

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