The Journal Gazette
Friday, January 22, 2021 1:00 am


454 homes listed for sale locally last month

Staff, news services

The local housing market had 454 new listings in December, a 1.6% increase from December 2019, according to the Upstate Alliance of Realtors Multiple Listing Service. Last month saw 494 pending sales, a 4.0% increase, in the coverage area of Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, Noble, Wells and Whitley counties.

December's 741 closed sales represented a 6.9% increase from the previous year. The median sales prices increased by 11% to $166,500. Sellers received 98.3% of original list price, a 3.3% increase.

Inventory levels shrank by 51.6% to 575, UPSTAR said Wednesday in a news release. Inventory supply plunged by 56.3% to less than one month.

Adam Smith, the organization's president, said strong buyer demand continues. “We are hoping for an increase in sellers this year to balance the market,” he said in a statement. “Until we see a greater inventory in homes for sale, the median sales price will continue to rise. It's supply and demand.”

1st Source sees drop in annual earnings

1st Source Corp. on Thursday reported annual earnings of $81.4 million, or $3.17 per diluted common share, an 11% decline from the $92.0 million, or $3.57 a share, posted for 2019.

The South Bend-based parent of 1st Source Bank also reported fourth-quarter earnings of $26.5 million, or $1.03 a share, a 21% increase from the $22.0 million, or 86 cents a share, posted for the same three months of 2019.

Christopher Murphy III, chairman, president and CEO, said staff overcame unique challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We helped our communities and clients by providing over 3,500 Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans for over $597 million, keeping businesses going and people employed,” he said in a statement. “At the end of the year, $236 million of these loans had been forgiven.”

Home construction up 5.8% last month

U.S. home construction jumped 5.8% in December, to 1.67 million units, a 14-year high.

The better-than-expected December gain followed an increase of 9.8% in November, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. The December pace was the strongest since September 2006.

For the year, construction began on 1.45 million units, up 4.8% from 2019 and the best pace since 2006.

Rate for 30-year mortgage drops

U.S. long-term mortgage rates slipped this week while remaining at record-low levels.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the average rate on the benchmark 30-year fixed-rate home loan eased to 2.77% from 2.79% last week. By contrast, the rate stood at 3.60% a year ago. The average rate on 15-year fixed-rate loans, popular among homeowners seeking to refinance their mortgages, declined to 2.21% from 2.23%.

Long-term bond yields, which can influence interest rates on mortgages and other consumer loans, have climbed recently amid expectations of higher U.S. government spending on pandemic relief and an economic recovery as more people get vaccinated for COVID-19.

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