Home sales across central Indiana fell below their 2005 levels for the ninth straight month in December while the median home price gained ground, according to the latest MLS statistics from the Metropolitan Indianapolis Board of Realtors.

There were 2,103 homes sold for the month in the nine-county region surrounding Indianapolis, down 13.7 percent from 2,437 homes sold in December 2005.

The area’s median sales price grew 1.2 percent during the period, rising from $121,000 to $122,500.

Although roughly level with a year ago, new listings declined on a monthly basis for the fifth straight month in December, as just 3,029 homes were added to the market, down from 3,794 in November, 4,583 in October, 4,679 in September and 5,397 in August.

Total for-sale inventory shrank between the end of November and the end of December, falling from 18,135 listings to 17,137 — a 5.5 percent decrease. However, there were still 1,608 more homes for sale than there were at the same time a year earlier, which represents a 10.4 percent increase.

“We did experience a buyer’s market in 2006, but we expect to see the market come into balance in 2007,” said H. James Litten, president of F.C. Tucker Co.’s Residential Real Estate Services Division, a large Indiana real estate brokerage. “Not only are we seeing inventory level off, but positive economic factors such as job growth and steady interest rates spell good things for the central Indiana residential real estate market in 2007.”

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