East Penn Press

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Lehigh Valley house sales decline in May for fourth month in a row

Saturday, June 23, 2018 by Paul Willistein pwillistein@tnonline.com in Business Showcase

Sales of houses in the Lehigh Valley continued their percentage of decline into the second quarter of 2018 compared to the same time in 2017, just as the prime summer residential real estate sales season gets underway.

According to the May monthly report of the Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors (GLVR), closed sales were down a bit less: 8.5 percent with 765 houses sold in May, compared to 836 houses sold in May 2017.

Despite the percentage of sales being down according to the GLVR report, the number of houses sold continues to increase when monthly figures for 2018 are compared to those of 2017.

For example, closed sales were down 10.6 percent with 591 houses sold in April, compared to 661 houses sold in April 2017.

Closed sales for March were down 7.9 percent to 595 houses sold, compared to 646 houses sold in March 2017.

Closed sales for February were down 6.7 percent to 421 houses sold, compared to 451 houses sold in February 2017.

Closed sales for January were up 2.6 percent to 442 houses sold, compared to 431 houses sold in January 2017.

For the year-to-date, closed sales for 2018 are down marginally, by 4 percent, with 2,904 houses sold, compared to 3,035 houses sold year-to-date in 2017.

Pending sales were up again in May by 6.9 percent to 967, compared to 905 in May 2017.

Pending sales for 2018 are up slightly, 0.7 percent to 3,760, compared to 3,733 year-to-date for 2017.

The Average Sales Price went up again, 6.6 percent in May to $223,513, compared to $209,714 in May 2017.

The Median Sales Price also increased 9.2 percent in May to $199,950, compared to $183,105 in May 2017.

Lehigh Valley’s tight housing market continues to get tighter with new listings down even more by 8.6 percent to 1,203 in May, compared to 1,316 in May 2017.

Days on Market again dropped by double digits in May by 16.3 percent to 41 days, compared to 49 days in May 2017.

Inventory also continued its big decline in May, down 31.3 percent to 1,679, compared to 2,443 in May 2017.

Months Supply in May was also down, by 33.3 percent to 2.4 months, compared to 3.6 months in May 2017.

The Percentage Of List Price Received was up by 1.2 percent to 98.9 percent in May, compared to 97.7 percent in May 2017.

The Housing Affordability Index took another double-digit dip in May, down 13.9 percent, compared to May 2017.

Market analysis

“Prospective home buyers should continue to expect a competitive housing market for the next several months,” said GLVR CEO Justin Porembo.

“Given the fact that gradually rising mortgage rates often infuse urgency to get into a new home before it costs more later, buyers need to remain watchful of new listings and make their offers quickly,” Porembo said.

Although home sales may actually drop in year-over-year comparisons over the next few months, that has more to do with low inventory than a lack of buyer interest, according to Sean LaSalle, 2018 President of GLVR.

“As lower days on market and higher prices persist year after year, one might rationally expect a change in the outlook for residential real estate, yet the current situation has proven to be remarkably sustainable, likely due to stronger fundamentals in home loan approvals than were in place a decade ago,” LaSalle said.

Carbon County

Carbon County had another solid month and even saw a slight increase in inventory, according to the May reporrt of the GLVR.

Inventory went up 1.8 percent to 332 units.

Months Supply of Inventory was down 17.1 percent to 5.8 months.

The Median Sales Price remained steady, seeing a decrease of 1.3 percent to $132,000.

Pending Sales climbed to 77, versus 61 the previous May.

There was an increase in New Listings, which hit 123.

GLVR information

The Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors is a not-for-profit trade association representing more than 2,000 Realtors in Carbon, Lehigh and Northampton counties.

GLVR provides professional development and training resources, competitive market information, legislative advocacy, peer review and mediation processes for members, and a dispute resolution service for consumers.

GLVR owns and operates the Greater Lehigh Valley Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and the Greater Lehigh Valley Real Estate Academy.

Information: GreaterLehighValleyRealtors.com