Howard County home sales picked up 22.1 percent during the first quarter of 2012, the Indiana Association of Realtors reported Monday.
A total of 221 sales closed January through March this year, which is up from 181 over the same three months in 2011.
Median sales prices have increased to $72,500 from $70,000.
The inventory of homes for sale decreased 10.7 percent in March to 650.
Amy Pate, executive vice president of the Realtors Association of Central Indiana, said there appears to be a shortage of average, four-bedroom, family-style homes on the market.
“The bottom line is, most of those types of people, the type of person choosing to just make a move, it is still a buyer’s market,” Pate said.
Real estate agent Kate Mays with F.C. Tucker/Tomlinson Inc. said many of her recent clients have been young families looking to upgrade from smaller houses or apartments to mid-priced homes that average about $150,000.
“I have three clients right now that are doing that, young families selling their small house and going to their next step,” Mays said.
Foreclosures held onto their prominent position in the housing market in the first quarter.
Repossessed homes accounted for about 34 percent of all sales, Pate said. But of those sales, 62 percent were for $40,000 or less, she said.
The Realtors Association says Howard County, at the end of March, had an eight-month supply of homes for sale, which was down from 9.7 months a year earlier.
But after taking out the “glut” of foreclosures, Pate said, the county has closer to a seven-month supply.
A six- or seven-month’s inventory of homes is an ideal market in which supply and demand balance well, she said.
“Neither the buyer nor the seller has an advantage,” she said, “so we’re really getting toward an equilibrium.”
New listings through March have increased 9.9 percent as the housing market heads from its traditional slowest time of year into the busiest.
“You will see more people now, as they’re getting more comfortable with the market, choosing to move,” Pate said. “That means more of those, really, quality listings. A lot of people have been hunkered down and choosing to stay where they are unless they had to move.”