Whitehall-Coplay Press

Saturday, July 21, 2018

LV house sales decline for third-straight month

Saturday, June 16, 2018 by Paul Willistein pwillistein@tnonline.com in Business Showcase

House sales in the Lehigh Valley declined for a third-straight month, this time in double-digits for April, putting house sales for the year-to-date in negative territory.

Closed sales were down 10.6 percent with 591 houses sold in April, compared to 661 houses sold in April 2017, according to the Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors (GLVR) April report.

Closed sales for 2018 are down 3.2 percent, with 2,118 houses sold, down from 2,189 houses sold year-to-date or 2017.

The Average Sales Price went up again, 9.3 percent in April, as did the Median Sales Price, up 11.4 percent, both compared to April 2017.

The Housing Affordability Index took another double-digit dip in April, down 15 percent, compared to 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.

Pending sales for April were up 7.2 percent to 934, compared to 871 in April 2017.

Pending sales for 2018 are up 1.1 percent to 2,861, compared to 2,829 year-to-date for 2017.

Lehigh Valley’s tight housing market seems to continue to be getting tighter with new listings down 4.6 percent to 1,191 in April, compared to 1,249 in April 2017.

Days on Market again dropped by double digits in April, down 18.6 percent to 48 days, compared to 59 days in April 2017.

Inventory declined in April, down 33 percent to 1,548, compared to 2,310 in April 2017.

Months Supply in April was again down, by 35.3 percent to 2.2 months, compared to 3.4 months in April 2017.

Average Sales Price was up in April by 9.3 percent to $222,951, compared to $204,045 in April 2017.

The Median Sales Price was up again by double digits in April: 11.4 percent to $195,000, compared to $175,000 in April 2017.

The Percentage Of List Price Received was up by 0.4 percent to 98.2 percent in April, compared to 97.8 percent in April 2017.

Market analysis

The GLVR April data showed a spring housing market in Lehigh and Northampton counties trying to come alive as the battle for inventory continues. Carbon County, meanwhile, had an impressive April.

As the inventory story continues, GLVR CEO Justin Porembo remains confident that builders and sellers are making their way to the market.

“Many sellers and builders are in a good position for financial gains, as the economy continues to favor putting existing homes on the market and building new homes for sale,” Porembo said. “There may not be massive increases in inventory from week to week, but a longer-term trend toward more new listings is expected.”

Porembo added that low inventory should continue to create a competitive situation for buyers, causing price increases over the next several months.

“This winter and spring exhibited unseasonal weather patterns in much of the country,” noted Sean LaSalle, 2018 President of GLVR. “As the seasons change to something more palatable, wages and consumer spending are both up, on average, which should translate positively for the housing market.”

LaSalle, a Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach in Macungie, added, “Being quick with an offer is still the rule of the day as the number of days a home stays on the market drops lower. If that wasn’t enough for buyers to mull over with each potential offer, being aware of pending mortgage rate increases is once again in fashion.”

Carbon County

Carbon County saw a nice start to spring, according to the GLVR April report, which could, in part, be attributed to buyers needing to look into outlying areas for homes.

The Median Sales Price increased 3 percent to $139,000.

Inventory levels remained steady, dropping just 1.9 percent to 308 units.

Months Supply of Inventory was down 19.1 percent to 5.5 months.

Pending Sales climbed to 67 in April, versus 59 in April 2017. There was an increase in New Listings, which hit 113.

Information: GreaterLehighValleyRealtors.com