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Existing-home sales dip in 1st half

Local observers still expect pent-up demand to kick in

Sales are down from last year, but real estate officials say there’s reason to be upbeat.

The Upstate Alliance of Realtors reported that 3,258 existing homes sold through the first half of the year, a nearly 8 percent decrease from a year ago during the same period.

Upstate, which tracks data from Allen, Adams, DeKalb, Huntington, Noble, Wells and Whitley counties, said the average sale price through the first six months of 2014 was $127,239, a 2 percent hike.

In June, 735 homes sold, compared to 755 houses in June 2013 – a nearly 3 percent decline.

Still, the metro Fort Wayne housing market can benefit from low interest rates and an improving economy that includes 5.6 percent unemployment in June, lower than the seasonally adjusted national rate of 6.1 percent.

Judy Baumgartner is an agent with Century 21 Bradley Realty Inc. in Fort Wayne. She said home sales are far from tepid, especially when contrasted with the period during the recession.

”We’re improving,” she said. “There is still a lack of inventory and some people are building new homes, but overall we’re certainly better. There are no real economic issues in Fort Wayne.”

Baumgartner, who has 40 years of industry experience, said the area’s medical field is helping grow the economy and draw people back to the area. This year, J. Kyle Ness, president of the Upstate Alliance, said the rough winter played a major part in the lack of houses on the market. Nonetheless, Ness said he believes pent-up demand will eventually help drive sales.

Other highlights from June are:

• New listings decreased 4.1 percent to 1,079

• Pending sales were up 0.7 percent to 764

• Inventory shrank 0.4 percent to 3,372