Arguably the area’s most broadly desirable zip code with an abundance of quality, newer housing stock and great schools, the 46530 zip code has a lot to offer homeowners and families.

Figure 1: 2015-16 Sales by Week, source IRMLS

Since I started doing this series, there have been several requests for a market report spotlighting Granger, and it makes sense. The majority of the zip code falls within the PHM school district, home to the nationally recognized Penn High School, a four star school for four years (say that five times fast…), included in US News & World Report’s list of national Best High Schools, and identified by The Washington Post as one of America’s Most Challenging High Schools. So it’s no surprise that for many families this is their area of chioce as evidenced by the 48% of households with children under the age of 18. At $231K, median home values in the area are 48% higher than in Indiana as a whole, and following suit, 43% of Granger households bring in six figure annual incomes. The area’s population continues to grow at 9% annually, although this fails to keep pace with the national average of 11.6%

But how does that translate the nitty gritty data reflecting the performance 46530’s housing climate? If you’ve been following this series (or real estate in general) you know that 2016 was a great year in general for the national and local housing markets. Interest rates stayed low; prices appreciated; days on market fell. High demand for existing homes drove the market all year long and will likely continue to do so in the near future. As a top agent, it’s my job to keep my ear to the pulse of the various local markets, but even I was a little surprised at how robust some of the positive trends were when we ran the numbers.

If Granger’s housing market could be summed up in one word it would be stable.

Although the volume of 46530 home sales in 2016 was up 10% from the prior year, prices didn’t appreciate at the same rate as other local markets. Average sale prices increased by just under 2%, whereas in the past two installments of Monthly Market Report we saw a year over year increase of 6% in 46628 and 12.5% in 46617. Time on market was still down by over 12% in keeping with other local areas and the broader demand-driven housing trends or 2016. So if the volume was there and the demand was there, why the comparatively lackluster price appreciation? There are likely a couple key factors at play. The first is that home values in Granger are, in the aggreagate, at the top tier of the local housing market with regards to price – so there isn’t really much headroom for the 46530 market when looked at as a whole. The second is the lack of new housing stock in the area. Old houses generally cost less than new ones and there are virtually no buildable home sites currently available in the main areas of Granger situated within St Joseph county. Much of the housing stock in the area is beginning to age since a good share of the development in Granger really started to take root around the beginning of the 80’s in areas like Terri Brooke and Knollwood.

What does that mean for your bottom line as a current or perspective Granger homeowner?

Granger is a great area to live, and a great area to purchase a home in. Stable is good for you as a homeowner, and the things that make 46530 desirable, like its suburban neighborhood feel and great schools, aren’t likely to be going anywhere. Plus there are still opportunities for sellers to make a good return at closing, and for buyers to walk away from their purchase with some potential for extra equity. Since a good number of the homes in the area are approaching 30 years old, the range of their values begins to broaden. When houses are new their prices stay fairly tight, but when a community begins to age, tastefully updated homes sell for significantly higher prices than their now dated counterparts that may still have wood trim, brass fixtures, and their original vinyl tile and carpet. That’s great news if you’re willing to buy a home that could use some updating and you plan on doing it. That’s also great news if you’re willing to put a little into your home before bringing it to market, since the bump in sale price from some smart upgrading has the potential to be significantly more than the cost of the work. A couple examples of  older Granger homes that were able to capitalize on some great updating and receive multiple offers significantly higher than the comps can be found here and here.

All signs still point to continued growth in the regional and national housing markets over the near term, and thanks to several factors including great schools, and quality housing stock, the 46530 market is likely to continue to see stability and opportunity for years to come.

About the author

Steve Smith
Senior broker and team leader at Irish Realty, Steve has been a top producing agent since 2005 and has represented clients in transactions totaling well over $130M in career sales. With a broad experience base that is not simply limited to single family homes, coupled with his market leading track record of success, Steve has established himself as one of the South Bend area’s most respected Realtors. You can follow Steve on Facebook and several other social media platforms.

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