Northwestern Press

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

LV house sales rebound, up 4.7 percent in August

Friday, September 28, 2018 by Paul Willistein pwillistein@tnonline.com in Business Showcase

Closed sales rebounded at the conclusion of the house sales summer season, increasing 4.7 percent in August, the first increase in closed sales in 2018 since January.

Houses were only on the market, on average, for one month in August.

According to the Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors (GLVR) latest report, released Sept. 14, the percentage of closed sales increased in August, reversing a sixth-straight-month decline, up 4.7 percent to 907, compared to 866 closed sales in August 2017.

For the year-to-date, however, the percentage of closed sales for 2018 is still down, by 1 percent, with 5,584 houses sold, compared to 5,639 houses sold year-to-date in 2017.

Pending sales were also up in August, by 6.3 percent, to 798, compared to 751 in August 2017.

Pending sales for 2018 are now up, by 1.6 percent to 6,142, compared to 6,044 year-to-date for 2017.

Inventory levels again shrank in August, but less so percentage-wise than in July, down 17.1 percent to 2,035 units in August, compared to 2,454 units in August 2017.

Inventory levels shrank in July by 35.7 percent to 1,601 units, compared to 2,488 units in July 2017.

The July inventory level decline was similar to that of June, when inventory levels were down 37.3 percent to 1,571 units, compared to 2,507 units in June 2017.

The Months Supply of Inventory also dropped in August, again less so percentage-wise than in July, down 19.4 percent to 2.9 months in August, compared to 3.6 months in August 2017.

The Months Supply of Inventory dropped by 33.3 percent in July to 2.4 months, compared to 3.6 months in July 2017.

The Months Supply of Inventory dropped by 37.8 percent in June to 2.3 months, compared to 3.7 months in June 2017.

Days on Market was down 21.1 percent to 30 days in August, compared to 38 days in August 2017.

That’s similar to the Days on Market for July, which was down 26.2 percent to 31 days, compared to 42 days in July 2017.

New listings also rebounded for the first time in several months, up 6.5 percent to 1,097 in August, compared to 1,030 in August 2017.

New listings were down 13.1 percent in July to 930, compared to 1,070 in July 2017.

New listings were down 15.2 percent in June to 995, compared to 1,174 in June 2017.

Market analysis

Rising home prices, higher interest rates and increased building material costs have pressured housing affordability to a 10-year low, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

While home prices are at or approaching record highs in many markets in the United States, mortgage default and foreclosure rates sit near historic lows.

In the Lehigh Valley, lender-mediated activity in August made up for only 2.0 percent, or 40 properties, of the market.

That said, according to Justin Porembo, CEO of GLVR, the rise in home prices is outpacing the rise in household income.

“The national median household income has risen 2.6 percent in the last 12 months, while home prices are up 6.0 percent,” Porembo said.

“That kind of gap will eventually create fewer sales due to affordability concerns, especially in the middle to high-middle price ranges,” said Porembo.

In the Lehigh Valley, prices in August continued to gain traction, according to the GLVR report.

The Median Sales Price increased 6.5 percent to $213,000 in August, up from $200,000 in August 2017.

That’s a big drop percentage-wise from July. The Median Sales Price increased 18.5 percent to $225,000 in July, compared to $189,000 in July 2017.

In June, the Median Sales Price increased 12.6 percent to $225,000, compared to $199,000 in June 2017.

The Average Sales Price also increased, up 6.8 percent in August to $240,046, compared to $224,720 in August 2017.

That’s a significant drop percentage-wise from July. The Average Sales Price increased 11.7 percent in July to $248,754, compared to $222,651 in July 2017.

The Average Sales Price increased 8.8 percent in June to $253,027, compared to $232,579 in June 2017.

“While some are starting to look for recessionary signs like fewer sales, dropping prices and even foreclosures, the fact remains that the trends do not yet support a dramatic shift away from what has been experienced over the last several years,” said Sean LaSalle, 2018 President of GLVR.

“Housing starts are performing admirably if not excitingly, prices are still inching upward, supply remains low and consumers are optimistic,” LaSalle said.

Even with home prices continuing to increase, sellers are, on average, received 98.1 percent of asking price, up 0.4 percent from 97.7 percent in August 2017, the GLVR August report states.

That’s a slight drop. Sellers, on average, received 98.5 percent of the asking price in July, a 0.2 percent increase, compared to 98.3 percent in July 2017.

Sellers, on average, received 98.7 percent of the asking price in June, a 0.5 percent increase, compared to 98.2 percent in June 2017.

The Housing Affordability Index again decreased, but less so, down 13.2 percent in August, compared to August 2017.

The Housing Affordability Index was, down 20.1 percent in July, compared to July 2017.

The Housing Affordability Index was down by 16.4 percent in June, compared to June 2017.

House sales

Closed sales in July were down 16.8 percent to 655, compared to 787 houses sold in July 2017.

Closed sales in June were down 25.2 percent with 719 houses sold, compared to 961 houses sold in June 2017.

Closed sales in May were down 8.5 percent with 765 houses sold, compared to 836 houses sold in May 2017.

Closed sales in April were down 10.6 percent with 591 houses sold, compared to 661 houses sold in 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.

Carbon County

Carbon County saw a solid August for closes sales of houses. Closed Sales increased to 66, versus 58 the previous August.

The Median Sales Price increased to $142,750.

Pending Sales climbed to 82.

There was an increase in New Listings, which hit 103.

Inventory was up 4.0 percent to 368 units.

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 (MLS) and the Greater Lehigh Valley Real Estate Academy.

Information: GreaterLehighValleyRealtors.com