2006 Northwest Indiana Outlook
Publication date: 01/22/2006 Source: Post Tribune / Business

As interest rates creep up, the residential housing market should slow but remain strong, while commercial real estate will continue to grow as more people see the region as an extension of Chicago.  Home sales will remain historically strong nationally, with analysts forecasting the second highest sales on record, said Nancy Smith, chief executive officer of the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate is expected to gradually rise to 6.7 percent by the second half of the year, am modest rise that will cause some slowdown.  She expects a more normal rate of price growth nationally, creating a balance between home buyers and sellers.  "Although overall Northwest Indiana hasn't experienced the dramatic housing appreciation that some other areas, including parts of  Chicago land, have experienced, price growth is higher than normal for this area in the last couple of years," Smith said.

On the commercial scene, Northwest Indiana will continue to be viewed as part of the a Chicago market by developers, said David Lasser, president of Commercial In-sites, a Merrillville commercial real estate firm.  That includes the area surrounding U.S. 30 and Interstate 65 and the mall.  "We are the southeast suburban office market," Lasser said, adding Merrillville particularly has grown as an office hub, with some activity in Schererville and Valparaiso.  He expects growth in the industrial real estate market as well.  "With the phased-out elimination of the inventory tax, we're going to see continued growth distribution centers and manufacturing in this market, at a more competitive level than in Illinois and surrounding states," he said.

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