The sale of existing homes in Northwest Indiana in January matched the month's chill, down nearly 12 percent as compared to January of 2018 in the seven-county area represented by the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors.

The 533 sales in Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Newton, Jasper, Starke and Pulaski counties were off 11.8 percent from 2018's 604. The median sale price of $157,000 was steady, though, up 0.7 percent from a year ago.

Lake County experienced a 10.6 percent sale decline, to 319 homes, with the same median price as a year ago, $155,000.

Porter County saw a 7.4 percent drop in sales to 112, with a median price increase of 5 percent to $200,000.

LaPorte County's sales decline was 14.7 percent, to 64, with a 6 percent drop in median price, to $100,000.

Nationally, sales were down 8.5 percent from a year ago at an annualized rate of 4.94 million, from 5.40 million in January 2018, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said moderating prices and gains in household income should boost housing affordability in coming months.

The average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage decreased to 4.46 percent in January from 4.64 percent in December, according to Freddie Mac. The average commitment rate for all of 2018 was 4.54 percent.

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