Whitehall-Coplay Press

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

LV house sales down two-straight months; drop 2.7 percent in August

Friday, September 20, 2019 by Paul Willistein pwillistein@tnonline.com in Business Showcase

House sales in the Lehigh Valley again declined, down in August, which is toward the close of the peak sales season.

July also saw a decline in house sales. And, in June, sales were flat, with no increase at all. Sales were up slightly in May.

September can be considered part of the peak house sales season as closings sometimes extend into the month.

The comparison of house sales is year to year. The actual number of houses sold stayed about the same from month to month during the 2019 summer sales season.

Closed sales for houses in the Lehigh Valley dropped 2.7 percent in August, with 926 houses sold, compared to 952 houses sold in August 2018, according to the Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors (GLVR) monthly report released Sept. 12.

Closed sales for houses in the Lehigh Valley dropped 7.2 percent in July, with 814 houses sold, compared to 877 houses sold in July 2018.

Closed sales for houses in the Lehigh Valley didn’t increase 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 the eight months of 2019 are up slightly, 0.4 percent, to 5,753, compared to 5,732 for the eight months of 2018.

Closed sales have decreased in five months of the eight months, stayed flat in one month and increased in two months so far in 2019.

Pending sales were up again, this time by double digits, 14.1 percent in August, to 856 houses, compared to 750 houses in August 2018.

New listings again decreased, down by a bit less than in July, down 9.8 percent in August to 1,014 houses, compared to 1,124 houses in August 2018.

The average sales price again increased, 5.2 percent in August to $249,783, compared to $237,545 in August 2018.

The median sales price again also increased, 4.8 percent in August to $220,000, compared to $210,000 in August 2018.

Inventory again decreased by double digits, even more so than in July, down 22.4 percent in August to 1,737 units, compared to 2,237 units in August 2018.

Days on the market increased, reversing a decrease in July, up 3.2 percent in August, or 32 days, compared to 31 days in August 2018.

The months’ supply of inventory again decreased by double digits, even more so than in July, down 25 percent in August, or 2.4 months, compared to 3.2 months in August 2018.

The percentage of list price received increased slightly, up 0.6 percent in August to 98.6 percent, compared to 98 percent in August 2018.

The housing affordability index jumped up, 6.1 percent in August, compared to August 2018.

Market analysis

“As the summer draws to a close, multiple opposing factors and trends are competing to define the direction of the real estate market,” said GLVR CEO Justin Porembo.

“Despite the Federal Reserve lowering its benchmark interest rate, resulting in 30-year mortgage rates declining to 2016 levels, the lack of affordable inventory and the persistence of historically high housing prices have led to lower-than-expected existing home sales,” Porembo said.

Most experts agree that these reductions are unlikely to bring sufficient relief, at least in the short term, for first-time home buyers.

Prices continued to gain traction. There are lower-than-expected existing home sales at the national level, according to the GLVR August report.

“Our real estate professionals continue to monitor the market for signs of imbalances,” said GLVR President Carl Billera.

“Although the inventory of affordable homes at this point remains largely stable, it is stable at historically low levels, which may continue to push prices higher and affect potential buyers,” Billera said.

According to the GLVR, new construction could greatly improve the real estate market, locally and nationally.

Low inventory numbers impact the United States’ overall economy, according to Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors.

“A boost to home-building would greatly improve economic growth,” said Yun.

“More free-market prices on construction materials, without government interference about where homebuilders have to get their supply, will also help produce more and grow the economy. The housing industry cannot grow without more supply,” Yun said.

As many homeowners refinanced their homes to take advantage of declining interest rates, consumer confidence in housing was reported to be at historically high levels.

Closed sales

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

Closed sales for houses in the Lehigh Valley didn’t increase 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 dipped to $130,500 in August, according to the GLVR.

Closed Sales increased to 74 in August.

Pending Sales increased to 80 in August.

There was a decrease in Inventory decreased to 334 units in August.

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