Northwestern Press

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Valley house sales up 4 percent in 2017

Friday, January 26, 2018 by Paul Willistein pwillistein@tnonline.com in Business Showcase

December house sales in the Lehigh Valley concluded on a down note as 2017 see-sawed from month-to-month ups and downs.

In 2017 in the Valley, there were five months of increased sales (November, August, July, May, March) and seven months of decreased sales (December, October, September, June, April, February, January).

Closed sales for December 2017 were down 3.6 percent to 612 houses sold, compared to 635 houses sold in December 2016, according to the December report of the Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors (GLVR).

In 2017, closed sales were up 4 percent, to 8,346 from 8,027 in 2016.

Pending sales for December 2017 were up 7.5 percent to 461, compared to 429 in December 2016, which matches the pending sales increase for 2017 of 7.5 percent to 8,573, compared to 7,974 in 2016.

The tight housing market in the Valley continued, with new listings down in December 2017, by 10.2 percent to 448, compared to 499 in December 2016. For 2017, new listings were virtually flat, down 0.5 percent to 11,562, compared to 11,623 for 2016.

Days on Market dropped significiantly in December 2017, by 24.6 percent to 52 days, compared to 69 days in December 2016. Days on Market for 2017 also decreased by double digits, down by 22.6 percent to 48 days, compared to 62 days in 2016.

Inventory was also reduced in December 2017, down 28.4 percent to 1,606, compared to 2,244 in December 2016. Figures for inventory for 2017 were unavailable from the GLVR, as of the Press Focus section deadline.

Months Supply also dipped in December 2017, down 35.3 percent to 2.2 months, compared to 3.4 months in December 2016. Figures for Months Supply for 2017 were unavailable from the GLVR, as of the Press Focus section deadline.

The Average Sales Price showed a healthy increase in December 2017, up 8.2 percent to $219,499, compared to $202,879 in December 2016. The Average Sales Price for 2017 jumped 5 percent to $215,271, compared to $204,985 for 2016.

The Median Sales Price was also up in December 2017, by 3.2 percent to $182,750, compared to $177,000 in December 2016. The Median Sales Price for 2017 increased 4.5 percent to $185,000, compared to $177,000 in 2016.

The Percentage of List Price Received was up slightly in December 2017, by 0.3 percent to 97.5 percent, compared to 97.2 percent in December 2016. The Percentage of List Price Received for 2017 also inched up by 0.5 percent to 97.7 percent, compared to 97.2 percent in 2016.

The Housing Affordability Index was flat in December 2017, at 0.0 percent. For 2017, the Housing Affordability Index was down 1.1 percent, compared to 2016.

Market analysis

According to the GLVR, the seasonal slowdown in December didn’t stop climbing prices and fast-moving houses.

“The number of homes for sale, days on market and months of supply were all down in year-over-year comparisons in a majority of the country for the entirety of 2017, as was housing affordability,” said GLVR CEO Justin Porembo.

The GLVR reported stated: “Although total sales volumes were mised, prices were consistently up in most markets.”

“Buyers may not benefit from higher prices, but sellers do, and there should be more listing activity by more confident sellers in 2018,” Porembo said.

“Unemployment rates remained low throughout 2017, and wages showed improvement, though not always to levels that match home price increases,” said Cass Chies, 2017 President of GLVR.

“Yet housing demand remained incredibly strong in 2017, even in the face of higher mortgage rates that are likely to increase further in 2018,” Chies said.

The GLVR report noted that despite higher home prices, sellers in December received, on average, 97.5 percent of their asking price. According to Porembo, this shows that the active buyers in the Lehigh Valley are serious and qualified.

Chies added, “Home building and selling professionals are both cautiously optimistic for the year ahead. Housing and economic indicators give reason for this optimism, with or without new federal tax legislation.

“We’re hopeful for an economic landscape in 2018 that will point toward improved conditions for both buyers and sellers,” said Chies.

2017 sales

Closed sales decreased 3.6 percent in December to 612 houses sold, compared to 635 houses sold in December 2016.

Closed sales increased 7.7 percent in November to 661 houses sold, compared to 614 houses sold in Noivember 2016.

Closed sales decreased 5.8 percent in October to 672 houses sold, compared to 713 houses sold in October 2016.

Closed sales decreased 3.5 percent in September to 697 houses sold, compared to 722 houses sold in September 2016.

Closed sales increased 2 percent in August to 813 houses sold, compared to 797 houses sold in August 2016.

Closed sales increased 2.7 percent in July to 756 houses sold, compared to 736 houses in July 2016.

Closed sales decreased 2.4 percent in June to 893 houses sold, compared to 915 in June 2016.

Closed sales increased 14 percent in May to 800 houses sold, compared to 702 in May 2016.

Closed sales decreased 4.3 percent in April to 626 houses sold, compared to 654 in April 2016.

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

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

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