Fort Wayne, Indiana Housing Market Named Hottest in Nation in 2020

Highlights from this report:

  • The Fort Wayne, Indiana housing market was recently ranked as the hottest in the nation.
  • That was based on a report by Realtor.com, published in February.
  • Separately, a recent forecast predicted that Fort Wayne home prices will continue rising through 2020.
  • Steady population growth and limited housing inventory have a lot to do with these forecasts and trends.

Fort Wayne Housing Market Ranked Hottest in Nation

What do you get when you cross a steadily growing population with limited housing inventory? Rising home values. And that’s exactly what is happening right now within the Fort Wayne, Indiana real estate market.

On February 13, 2020, the housing research team at Realtor.com published an updated list of the hottest housing markets in the country. This particular ranking analyzes a variety of factors relating to housing supply and demand. It covers most of the major metro areas across the country.

Oakdale in Fort Wayne, IN
Oakdale Historic District in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Public domain photo.

In January 2020, the Fort Wayne housing market retained its number-one position (as hottest market in the country) for the seventh month in a row. In January of last year, it was ranked #4 on the Realtor.com hot list. So it has risen since then.

To quote the report: “For the seventh month in a row, Fort Wayne, IN has held onto its spot as the hottest market in the country.”

Rounding out the top five on this list were three California cities, along with Lafayette, Indiana. The real estate market in Lafayette has risen steadily over the past year, climbing from the #24 spot in January 2019, up to #4 in January 2020.

To create these rankings, the research team at Realtor.com considers the number of listing views and the median number of days a property stays on the market. The hottest housing markets, like Fort Wayne, “are those with strong relative demand and limited relative supply.”

So when we talk about a “hot” real estate scene in this context, we’re talking about an area with a high level of competition among buyers.

Zillow Issues a Strong Forecast for 2020, into 2021

The housing and economic research team at Zillow recently updated their forecast for the Fort Wayne, Indiana housing market stretching into 2021. In addition to labeling the local real estate scene as “very hot,” the company predicted that home prices would continue rising through 2020.

In fact, they predicted that home-price growth in Fort Wayne would exceed the national average through this year and into next. And that’s not surprising, when you consider the current supply-and-demand situation within this particular housing market.

According to the Zillow forecast issued earlier this month:

“The median home value in Fort Wayne is $144,660 … values have gone up 8.1% over the past year and Zillow predicts they will rise 5.3% within the next year. “

Source: Zillow.com, February 2020

The median listing price, according to Realtor.com, was around $200,000 in January.

Real Estate Demand Rises, While Supply Remain Tight

Population growth has a lot to do with this upward trend (as usual). Fort Wayne, Indiana has seen a steady influx of new residents over the past decade or so. This in turn increases demand for housing on both the rental and purchase side of the real estate market.

According to data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau, Fort Wayne’s population grew 5.5% between 2010 and 2018. That’s for the city itself. The broader metro area has also seen steady population growth in recent years.

This growth comes at a time when residential real estate inventory remains low across the metro area. And that, above all else, is why home prices continue to rise.

In comments provided to the ABC news affiliate WPTA last year, local home builder Matt Lancia said:

“I don’t know what’s going to flip the switch and make [the market] go the other way. Our home inventory is so low in Fort Wayne right now that besides a catastrophic event, I don’t see how it would stop immediately.”

(He was referring to the competitive nature of the local housing market and the ongoing rise of house values in the area.)

Buying Now Versus Later

So, is now a good time to buy a home in Fort Wayne, Indiana?

That depends on a number of factors. But from a housing market perspective, one could argue that now is a great time to make a purchase.

The latest forecasts for the Fort Wayne housing market predict that prices will continue rising for the foreseeable future. (Barring some unforeseen economic calamity, that is.) This means that home buyers who postpone their purchases until later in 2020 or early 2021 could end up paying a higher price.

Mortgage rates are also very low right now. This puts another tick mark in the “buying sooner rather than later” column. According to the weekly survey conducted by Freddie Mac, the average rate for a 30-year mortgage loans dipped to 3.45% this week. That’s significantly lower than a year ago.

But there’s no telling how long they’ll stay in this low range. Rates could begin to inch upward, as we move further into 2020.

Disclaimer: This article includes real estate market predictions for the Fort Wayne area. Those forward-looking views were provided by third parties not associated with the publisher. Housing projections and forecasts are the equivalent of an educated guess and should be interpreted as such.