Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

April 26, 2013

Moving in the right direction

Local real estate market trending upward.

The Kokomo residential housing market has been on a roller coaster ride for the past few years, but area real estate agents are convinced the long-term trend is finally heading upward.

“There are a lot of people working, especially with the new Chrysler jobs, and we’re just seeing more stability in the jobs market,” said Amy Pate, director of the Realtors Association of Central Indiana. “A lot of the people who lost homes, or who had trouble getting loans, we’re starting to see these people getting back into the market.”

Home closings are ahead of last year’s pace, and median sales prices are up slightly. Sellers are also seeing a slight benefit, in terms of the percentage of the asking price they’ve been able to recoup.

Even foreclosures and short sales, the bane of sellers trying to get a good price, are showing signs of at least stabilizing.

Kevin Hardie, owner of Hardie Group Real Estate Co., said sales in the last six months to a year have considerably helped stabilize prices, as appraisers began to have an easier time finding comparably priced home sales.

“I guess I never anticipated the market would turn around quickly. I always thought it would be a slow process,” Hardie said.

Particularly in the $150,000 to $300,000 price range, homes are moving quickly. Multiple offers and low inventory have turned what was once a buyer-driven segment of the market into a slight seller’s market, several real estate professionals told the Tribune.

At the upper end of Kokomo’s housing market, the buyers “just disappeared” during the recession,  said appraiser Steve Taylor of Johnston & Taylor Associates, Kokomo.

“People who had to sell (during the recession) for various reasons had to take a big hit, just to sell,” Taylor said. “Now what we’re seeing is a shortage of listings in that area.”

Foreclosures, which at the peak of the recession made up close to 40 percent of all Howard County home sales, are down to about 13 percent of sales, Hardie said. As of Wednesday, 78 of the 564 homes for sale in the area were foreclosures.

Kristal Pyle, short sales specialist at Metropolitan Title Co., said she is staying busy with short sales, which occur anytime a seller presents an offer to their mortgage company for less than they owe.

“I think they’re slowing down, but they’re still there,” she said. The programs being offered to help “underwater” homeowners, who owe more than their home is worth, are changing, she said. News rules are aimed at making sure the government and investors move the property to a new owner quickly.

Backlogs and gluts of foreclosed properties might have still been impacting the local housing market in late 2011, when prices bottomed out after rising steadily the prior year.

Since early 2012, however, prices have been steadily climbing. Inventories in some segments have been tightening.

“The really good stuff goes pretty fast. The trouble right now is finding something people want,” Kokomo Realtor Cheryl Duncan said. “We’re seeing people getting pretty close to asking price.”

The real estate professionals all agreed that the good news in the local job front — with a local workforce now employing 4,000 more people than in 2009 — is starting to drive the market.

“It’s not anywhere near what things were [pre-recession], but it’s starting to stabilize,” Duncan said. “People aren’t taking the huge hits they once were.”

Scott Smith can be reached at 765-454-8569 or at scott.smith@kokomotribune.com.

For more on this story and other local news, subscribe to The Kokomo Tribune eEdition, or our print edition

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Farmers Market 01 Kokomo Downtown Farmers' Market gets facelift Pint-sized gardeners made homemade Chia Pets at the Kokomo Downtown Farmers' Market Saturday morning while their parents shopped for homegrown produce nearby. The kids packed grass seeds and dirt inside the disposable socks you get at shoe stores. Th

    April 23, 2014 3 Photos

  • FEMA grants disaster aid to Tipton County The Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved disaster aid for 19 Indiana counties hit by a January storm that brought paralyzing snow and frigid temperatures. Governor Mike Pence received word Tuesday that FEMA had granted his appeal for fede

    April 23, 2014

  • Native American inmate sues Miami Correctional Facility BUNKER HILL - A Native American inmate is suing the Miami Correctional Facility for violating his constitutional religious freedom after the prison last year terminated Native American worship services. Daniel Littlepage says in a class action lawsui

    April 23, 2014

  • INDOT to install curbs on Markland Indiana Department of Transportation maintenance crews have been scheduled to install traffic separator curbs between opposing lanes of State Road 22/Markland Avenue during the week of April 28. Placement of the highly visible manufactured curbing is

    April 23, 2014

  • Take Back the Night 17 Crowd rallies around domestic violence victims Doran Gwyn vividly remembers the night his stepdad came home from work and sat down at the table for supper. "He looked at the meal and said, 'What is this,'" Gwyn recalled. Then he took a bowl of food and smashed it against the ceiling in a rage and

    April 23, 2014 3 Photos

  • Tipton commission appointments get tangled up in confusion Months of confusion over a pair of appointments to two economic development commissions in Tipton County appear to be coming to an end, but not without its share of confusion. Single appointments to both the Tipton County Economic Development Commiss

    April 23, 2014

  • FEMA OKs aid for Tipton, 18 counties, but not Howard Co.

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved disaster aid for 19 Indiana counties hit by a January storm that brought paralyzing snow and frigid readings.

    April 22, 2014

  • Energy-saving program powering down this year Ever wonder how energy efficient your house is? You can find out. For free. But not for long. Energizing Indiana, a 2-year-old initiative of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, offers any homeowner in the state a free energy assessment for the

    April 22, 2014

  • Ways to celebrate Earth Day everyday “Help save the planet.” It’s a common phrase that sounds impossible to most of us. After all, what can one person really do to make an impact on the huge environmental issues facing people all over the world? But going green doesn't have to be a daun

    April 22, 2014

  • Broken blades worry residents

    Two broken turbine blades in the past three months have citizens in Tipton County concerned about the safety of the Wildcat Wind Farm. Monday's Tipton County Board of Commissioners meeting provided a forum for residents to speak out, some in favor of

    April 22, 2014

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter New Yorkers Celebrate Cherry Blossom Blooms SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Justice Dept. Broadening Criteria for Clemency Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers 'Miss Meadows' Takes Holmes Back to Her Roots Biden: Russia Must Stop Talking, Start Acting David Moyes Out As Manchester United Manager Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet Stowaway Teen Forces Review of Airport Security

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.