East Penn Press

Friday, October 18, 2019
PRESS PHOTO BY PAUL WILLISTEINHouse sold recently in South Whitehall Township. PRESS PHOTO BY PAUL WILLISTEINHouse sold recently in South Whitehall Township.

Lehigh Valley housing market spurs Carbon County real estate

Saturday, September 14, 2019 by Kristine Porter kporter@tnonline.com in Focus

The Lehigh Valley continues to see a shortage of houses for sale for the number of people looking to buy. Those eager to purchase a house are not waiting. Instead, they are coming to Carbon County.

“Carbon is having a nice run on their market,” said Justin Porembo, Chief Executive Officer, Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors (GLVR). “We’re happy to see a robust Carbon County market. The whole geographical footprint has seen a strong market.”

The number of houses with pending sales in Carbon has gone up nearly 22 percent in 2019 to date, compared to 2018. Closed sales are up by 17 percent.

The number of days on market has increased slightly, from 80 to 82 days. The average sales price has gone up.

In 2018, the average sales price in June was $143,532. In June 2019, it was $160,462, according to statistics compiled by the GLVR. The year-to-year price is also up, from $137,376 to $145,325.

“Carbon is not that much removed,” Porembo said. “They can live there, but still have access to the Bethlehem and Allentown.”

The highways make the commute to work easier, and buyers can find more for their money in Carbon County.

Some people are looking for acreage or larger lots than the houses in the Valley provide, Porembo said.

Others want a larger or newer house than they can afford in the Valley. The average sales price in the Lehigh Valley was $247,526 in July 2019, according to the GLVR.

Porembo said Carbon County is also a region for adventure-seekers and outdoor enthusiasts. Here, people can go skiing, whitewater rafting, hiking, and much more.

And with the expansions of Lehigh Valley Health Network and St. Luke’s University Health Network, there’s a lot of potential for the economy, too, in Carbon County, Porembo said.

Add to it that the national economy is good, and unemployment and interest rates are low, and the real estate market looks strong for the foreseeable future.

“Brokers are optimistic,” Porembo said. “They don’t see an end in sight.”

But, as with the Lehigh Valley, Carbon County could use more houses for sale on the market.

According to the GLVR, Carbon’s inventory was down 8 percent in June, compared to the same month in 2018. Inventory in the Valley was down 16 percent.

“Inventory is pushing on both sides of the mountain,” Porembo said.

For those who have decided to sell, they are getting their asking price 94.8 percent of the time, according to the GLVR. They also are getting multiple offers.

For buyers, Porembo recommends getting a buyer-agent.

“Get yourself a Realtor to maximize your mobility in this sellers’ market,” he said. “There are opportunities for buyers.”