Parkland Press

Friday, October 20, 2017

LV house market: Air goes out of March sales winds; April sales dampen 4.3 percent

Friday, May 26, 2017 by PAUL WILLISTEIN pwillistein@tnonline.com in Business Showcase

Sales of houses in the greater Lehigh Valley again declined in April after rebounding in March.

Closed sales decreased by 4.3 percent in April to 626 houses sold, compared to 654 in April 2016, according to the Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors (GLVR).

For the year-to-date, closed sales inched up 1 percent to 2,133 from 2,111 in 2016

Pending sales were up slightly, 5.4 percent in April to 924, compared to 877 in April 2016.

For the year-to-date, pending sales are up 8.9 percent to 2,922 from 2,682 in 2016.

The March double-digit increase of 13.7 had reversed three straight months of declining closed sales: 4.4 percent in February, 10.8 percent in January and 3.5 percent in December 2016.

LV market data

The percentage of list price received, 97.7 percent in April, an increase of 0.6 percent, compared to 97.1 percent in April 2016, is the highest it has been since 2007, according to the GLVR report released May 12.

New listings again decreased, 4.7 percent to 1,181 in April, compared to 1,239 in April 2016.

Inventory continued to decrease dramatically, down 42.7 percent in April to 2,054 units, compared to 3,585 units in April 2016.

The median sales price continued its upward increase, 2 percent to $175,000 in April from $171,500 in April 2016.

The average sales price also increased again, 3.8 percent in April to $204,292 from $196,729 in April 2016.

The housing affordability index continued to decrease, 4.6 percent in April compared to April 2016.

Days on the market decreased by double digits again, 15.7 percent to 59 days in April from 70 days in April 2016.

The months supply of inventory again decreased by big double-digits, down 45.5 percent to 3 months in April from 5.5 months in April 2016.

Market analysis

According to the GLVR, the April data shows that the squeeze on inventory may be putting prices just out of reach of first-time home-buyers, but the market remains strong as the second month of spring closes.

“When the economy is in good working order, as it is now, it creates opportunities in residential real estate, and right now is a potentially lucrative time to sell a home,” said GLVR CEO Justin Porembo.

“Houses that show well and are priced correctly have been selling quickly, often at higher prices than asking,” said Porembo.

Said GLVR President Cass Chies. “Although there is mounting buyer competition during the annual spring market cycle, buyer demand has not abated, nor is it expected to in the immediate future.”

Chies added that, while strong demand is generally considered a good problem to have, it creates an affordability issue for some buyers, especially first-time buyers. The market continues to look for its balance, according to Chies, as low inventory plagues the Lehigh Valley and beyond.

LV monthly closed sales

Closed increased by 13.7 percent in March to 616 houses sold, compared to 542 in March 2016.

Closed sales declined 4.4 percent in February to 433 houses sold, compared to 453 in February 2016.

Closed sales declined 10.8 percent in January to 412 houses sold, compared to 462 in January 2016.

Closed sales declined 3.5 percent in December 2016 to 601 houses sold, compared to 623 in December 2015.

Carbon County

In Carbon County, closed sales were down 2.5 percent.

Inventory levels shrank 35.7 percent to 284 units.

Months Supply of Inventory was down 38.1 percent to 6 months.

Days on Market decreased 40.9 percent to 81 days.

GLVR information

The monthly housing data is collected by the GLVR from its Multiple Listing Service, a database that includes housing market information from its more than 2,000 Realtor members.

The GLVR is a not-for-profit trade association providing professional development and training resources, competitive market information, legislative advocacy, a peer review and mediation process for members, and a dispute resolution service for consumers.

The GLVR owns and operates the Greater Lehigh Valley Multiple Listing Service, the Greater Lehigh Valley Real Estate Academy and is publisher of Greater Lehigh Valley Real Estate Weekly.

Information: GreaterLehighValleyRealtors.com