Sales of existing homes across Northwest Indiana during the first two months of 2020 reflected the market likely would remain strong heading into the spring and summer months, traditionally the busiest selling time for the industry.
However, with the world dealing with the coronavirus pandemic and coping with stay-at-home orders to limit public interaction to slow the spread of the virus, a cloudy future now hangs over the sector.
“It is impossible to predict how housing markets will perform in the next several months given the coronavirus’ arrival in the U.S. and its far-reaching impact,” said Bernice Helman of Terre Haute, 2020 president of the Indiana Association of REALTORS, in a recent statement. “We likely won’t see it reflected in our monthly report for a while given the delay in reporting closed sales.”
Statewide closed home sales totaled 5,393 in February, a 7.4% increase when compared to the same month a year ago.
Closed home sales in the area covered by the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors, which includes Jasper, Lake, LaPorte, Newton, Porter, Pulaski and Starke counties, totaled 622 in February, up 7.1% when compared to February 2019. January home sales also saw gains when compared to the same month a year ago with 592 closed sales, an increase of 10.9%.
Helman said Indiana realtors recognize home sales still occur even during economic downturns.
“This guarantees there will continue to be a need for housing and now more than ever, Hoosiers are relying on the comfort of home,” Helman said. “Realtors will keep using tools such as virtual tours and digital signatures to make transactions happen, and we’ll keep innovating for our clients.”
Realtor.com, the official website of the National Association of Realtors, in its annual forecast in December said the U.S. housing market would slow 2020 because buyers would have fewer options and a cooling economy could sway others to rein in spending. Realtor.com expected sales of existing homes nationally to fall 1.8% to 5.23 million when compared to 2019.
Realtor.com’s forecast for the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan markets, including the Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, Ill.-Ind.-Wis. metropolitan statistical area, expected 2020 sales to drop 0.9% and sale prices to fall 0.3% from 2019. The Chicago MSA includes Lake, Porter, Japer and Newton counties in Indiana and parts of southern Wisconsin.