East Penn Press

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

October LV house sales decline

Friday, December 13, 2019 by Paul Willistein pwillistein@tnonline.com in Business Showcase

Sales of houses in the Lehigh Valley declined in October.

Closed sales for houses in the Lehigh Valley declined 5.5 percent in October, with 703 houses sold, compared to 744 houses sold in October 2018, according to the Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors (GLVR) monthly report released Nov. 13.

The decline followed an increase in closed sales for houses in September.

Closed sales for the 10 months of 2019 are up slightly, 0.7 percent, to 7,213, compared to 7,166 for the 10 months of 2018.

In 2019, closed sales decreased in six months, increased in three months and were flat in one month.

Closed sales were up in September, May and April, declined in October, August, July, March, February and January and were flat in June.

Pending sales again increased, up 8.6 percent in October, to 767 houses, compared to 706 houses in October 2018.

New listings again decreased, down 8.2 percent in October to 924 houses, compared to 1,006 houses in October 2018.

The average sales price again increased, up 4.2 in October to $236,318, compared to $226,859 in October 2018.

The median sales price again increased, up 6.7 percent in October to $212,000, compared to $198,750 in October 2018.

Inventory again decreased by double digits, down 26.1 percent in October to 1,695 units, compared to 2,295 units in October 2018.

Days on the market decreased, down 10.5 percent in October, or 34 days, compared to 38 days in October 2018.

The months’ supply of inventory again decreased by double digits, down 30.3 percent in October, or 2.3 months, compared to 3.3 months in October 2018.

The percentage of list price received decreased slightly, down 0.2 percent in October to 97.9 percent, compared to 98.1 percent in October 2018.

The housing affordability index again jumped, this time by double digits, to 14.1 percent in October, compared to October 2018.

Market analysis

According to the GLVR, the October data showed that, while economic indicators portend a strong housing market, low supply on the lower end, which leaves first-time home buyers with few options, is helping to hold back sales.

“An imbalance persists for mid- to lower-priced homes, with solid demand and insufficient supply, which is consequently pushing up home prices,” said GLVR CEO Justin Porembo.

In October, when the Lehigh Valley normally starts to see a seasonal slowdown, prices continued to gain traction.

The Median Sales Price increased 6.7 percent to $212,000. Inventory levels shrank 26.1 percent to 1,695 units, leading to a Months Supply of Inventory that dropped 30.3 percent to 2.3 months. Closed Sales were down 5.5 percent to 703.

“There are positives to this real estate market,” said GLVR President Carl Billera. “Fannie Mae is predicting that continued low mortgage rates, and possibly lower rates, are expected in 2020.

“Our hope is that these low rates will continue to support buyer demand and help people get into the home of their dreams,” Billera said.

In October, mortgage rates increased slightly from the three-year lows seen in September.

While the Federal Reserve reduced the federal-funds target rate by 0.25 percent, the reduction was widely expected and largely was already factored into mortgage rates, which are still approximately 1 percent lower than this time last year.

Sellers were encouraged as Months Supply of Inventory was down 30.3 percent to 2.3 months.

The real-estate market is in the slower time of year for house sales.

Throughout much of the United States, the continued low level of housing inventory continues to constrain sales activity from where it would likely be in a balanced market.

Closed sales

Closed sales for houses in the Lehigh Valley increased 1.3 percent in September, with 699 houses sold, up from 690 houses sold in September 2018.

Closed sales for houses in the Lehigh Valley decreased 2.7 percent in August, with 926 houses sold, down from 952 houses sold in August 2018,

Closed sales for houses in the Lehigh Valley decreased 7.2 percent in July, with 814 houses sold, down from 877 houses sold in July 2018.

Closed sales for houses in the Lehigh Valley didn’t increase or decline in June, 0.0 percent, with 901 houses sold, identical to 901 houses sold in June 2018.

Closed sales for houses in the Lehigh Valley increased 0.4 percent in May, with 815 houses sold, up from 812 houses sold in May 2018,

Closed sales for houses in the Lehigh Valley increased 3.8 percent in April, with 651 houses sold, up from 627 houses sold in April 2018,

Closed sales for houses in the Lehigh Valley decreased 7.2 percent in in March, with 589 houses sold, down from 635 houses sold in March 2018.

Closed sales for houses in the Lehigh Valley decreased 7.7 percent in February, with 418 houses sold, down from 453 houses sold in February 2018.

Closed sales for houses in the Lehigh Valley decreased 5.7 percent in January, with 448 houses sold, down from 475 houses sold in January 2018.

Carbon County

In Carbon County, the Median Sales Price increased to $149,000 in October.

Closed Sales decreased, by just one property, to 63 in October.

Pending Sales increased to 71 in October.

There was a decrease in Inventory to 310 units in October.

Days on Market decreased to 56 days in October.

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 and the Greater Lehigh Valley Real Estate Academy.

Information: GreaterLehighValleyRealtors.com