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Hot housing market in central Indiana is setting records

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. (WISH) — The housing market in central Indiana is setting records. Homes are being sold not in months or days but hours.

It’s a great time to sell, but it can be a difficult time to buy.

Across the 16 counties which make up the area tracked by the MIBOR Realtor Association, there is less than one month’s inventory, something realtors said has never happened before.

Ashley Ernstberger and her family moved into a larger home in Noblesville just three weeks ago, not far from their last home.

“Exciting but stressful time,” she said.

When they put their home on the market, they had four requests for viewings in 15 minutes.

“Our neighbor texted us and said we could have charged admission for as many people coming into our home that evening,” Ernstberger said with a laugh.

They ended up with six offers, including four over the list price of $163,000.

The offer they selected paid $168,000, covered closing costs and paid for a few other items.

They’re not alone.

A house down the street sold in six hours and the one around the corner took even less time.

Bob Woerner, senior realtor partner with the Evelo Team, part of Keller Williams, said he’s never seen anything like it.

“Definitely not,” Woerner said. “Even those that have been around 20, 30, 40 years, there has never been an inventory level this low.”

A balanced market is one with about six months of inventory listed for sale.

Woerner said MIBOR has never been below one month’s inventory until June when it was 0.9. Last month, it fell even further to 0.8.

Woerner believes it’s a combination of factors: people living in their homes longer, pent-up demand from the initial pandemic slowdown and low interest rates.

“This is really across all the donut counties,” Woerner said. “That market data holds true for each one of those.”

Woerner said homes below $250,000 are the most in demand.

As of Thursday, there were 44 homes listed for sale in Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville and Westfield below that price point, with just 543 for sale regardless of price.

He adds to try to seal the deal, buyers are taking extra steps like waiving home inspections, paying closing costs, agreeing to go over appraised values and even writing cover letters to the sellers.

Woerner has started bringing offers to showings.

“If the buyer has interest in purchasing that home, we’re signing and submitting before we even leave the house,” he said.

For Ernstberger, getting her new $250,000 home meant going $10,000 over list price, agreeing to go $2,5000 over appraisal if needed and writing a cover letter.

She considers her family fortunate.

“I do feel like now that it has become our own, it was worth it,” she said. “We come downstairs every day and just the space that we have, we can have birthday parties here, we can have family and friends over and not feel like we’re stepping on top of one another.”

According to MIBOR, the 0.8 month inventory in July 2020 is almost a full month less than July 2019 when it was at 1.7. In July 2016, there was a 4 inventory. Back in July 2009, at the end of the recession, there was nine months of supply.

As for the counties in the MIBOR 16-coutny area with the hottest market, Johnson and Shelby counties have 0.6. Marion and Hamilton counties are both at 0.8 supply. Brown County is the slowest with 1.5 months supply.

Even so, applications for home construction permits and single-family building permits are up 12% so far in 2020 compared to 2019.

MIBOR said the median sale price for a home in July 2020 was $225,000 with 3,969 homes sold, an increase of 8.5%.

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