East Penn Press

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Sales of houses in Lehigh Valley decline second month in row

Wednesday, December 25, 2019 by Paul Willistein pwillistein@tnonline.com in Business Showcase

Sales of houses in the Lehigh Valley declined in November for a second straight month.

Closed sales for houses in the Lehigh Valley declined 1.5 percent, by only 11 properties, in November, with 700 houses sold, compared to 711 houses sold in November 2018, according to the Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors (GLVR) monthly report released Dec. 12.

The percentage of decline in closed sales for houses in November is less than that of the percentage of decline for closed sales for houses in October. Also, the number of houses sold in November was equivalent to the number of houses sold in October.

Closed sales for houses in the Lehigh Valley decreased 5.5 percent in October, with 703 houses sold, compared to 744 houses sold in October 2018.

Closed sales for the 11 months of 2019 are up slightly, 0.7 percent, to 7,931, compared to 7,877 for the 11 months of 2018.

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

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

The percentage of pending sales again increased, up by double digits in November, compared to October.

Pending sales increased 18 percent in November, to 656 houses, compared to 556 houses in November 2018.

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

New listings again decreased, down 9.6 percent in November to 614 houses, compared to 679 houses in November 2018.

The average sales price again increased, up 2.2 percent in November to $226,317, compared to $221,525 in November 2018.

The median sales price again increased, up 5.1 percent in November to $205,000, compared to $195,000 in November 2018.

Inventory again decreased by double digits, down 29.2 percent in November to 1,488 units, compared to 2,101 units in November 2018.

Days on the market again decreased by double digits, down 10.5 percent in November, or 34 days, compared to 38 days in November 2018.

The months’ supply of inventory again decreased by double digits, down 33.3 percent in November, or 2 months, compared to 3 months in November 2018.

The percentage of list price received increased slightly, up 0.8 percent in November to 98.3 percent, compared to 97.5 percent in November 2018.

The housing affordability index again increased by double digits, to 10.8 percent in November, compared to November 2018.

Market analysis

According to the GLVR, the November data showed “more of the same,” with prices up, inventory down and closed sales steady.

“Heading into 2020, real estate in the Lehigh Valley is on firm ground with little chance of price declines,” said GLVR CEO Justin Porembo.

“However, in order for the market to be healthier, more supply is needed to assure home prices as well as rents do not consistently outgrow income gains,” Porembo said.

Residential new construction activity continues to rise nationally. The U.S. Commerce Department reported that new housing permits rose 5 percent in October to a new 12-year high of 1.46 million units. Additional work needs to be done to address and, more importantly, correct inadequate levels of inventory, according to the GLVR.

“Increased home building can serve as a stimulator for the overall economy, and we strongly encourage more homes to be built as buyer demand remains strong,” said GLVR President Carl Billera.

“There is no shortage of buyers seeking homes, but a lack of available units continues to drag down the market, not only in the Lehigh Valley, but across the country,” Billera said.

In November, the Federal Reserve reduced its benchmark rate for the third time in 2019. The action was widely anticipated by the market. Mortgage rates remained steady in November and are down more than 1 percent from November 2018.

Observed the GLVR November report, while many economic signs are quite strong, total household debt has been rising for 21 consecutive quarters and is now $1.3 trillion higher than the previous peak of $12.68 trillion in 2008.

While delinquency rates remain low across most debt types, including mortgages, higher consumer debt loads can limit future household spending capability and increase risk if the economy slows down, concluded the GLVR November report.

Closed sales

Closed sales for houses in the Lehigh Valley decreased 5.5 percent in October, with 703 houses sold, compared to 744 houses sold in October 2018.

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 $157,500 in November.

Closed Sales increased, by two properties, to 55 in November.

Pending Sales increased to 63 in November.

There was a decrease in Inventory to 278 units in November.

Days on Market decreased to 79 days in November.

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