Northwestern Press

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

LV house sales again decrease, down 9.7 percent in September

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

After a one-month uptick in closed sales for Lehigh Valley houses following six months of declines, sales of houses in the Valley decreased by nearly double digits in September.

Closed sales dropped 9.7 percent in September to 651 houses sold, down from 721 houses sold in September 2017, according to the Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors (GLVR) September report, released Oct. 15.

For the year-to-date, the percentage of closed sales for 2018 is down slightly, by 1.5 percent, with 6,267 houses sold, compared to 6,360 houses sold year-to-date in 2017.

Pending sales were also down in September, by 2.9 percent, to 674, compared to 694 in September 2017.

Pending sales for 2018 are up slightly, 0.3 percent to 6,759, compared to 6,738 year-to-date for 2017.

New listings also declined in September, by 5.2 percent to 942, compared to 994 in September 2017.

Inventory levels again shrank in September, down 12.5 percent to 2,111 units, compared to 2,412 units in September 2017.

Days on Market was down 23.8 percent to 32 days in September, compared to 42 days in September 2017.

The Months Supply of Inventory dropped 12.5 percent to 3 months in September, compared to 3.5 months in September 2017.

Market analysis

According to the GLVR, the September data showed continued buyer demand and sales excitement, despite the usual end-of-year cool down.

“As we’ve noted in the past, it was anticipated that the Lehigh Valley would see a gain in inventory numbers, which had basically bottomed out, slowly over time,” said GLVR CEO Justin Porembo. “Over the last several months and into September, we’re finally seeing inventory levels trending in a more positive direction.”

The Median Sales Price increased 5.6 percent in September to $199,000, up from $188,500 in September 2017.

The Average Sales Price increased 1.4 percent in September to $222,635, compared to $219,613 in September 2017.

The Percentage of List Price Received increased 0.5 percent in August to 98.1 percent, compared to 97.6 percent in September 2017.

The Housing Affordability Index again decreased, down 15.3 percent in September, compared to September 2017.

The GLVR September report noted that some economy observers are pointing to 2018 “as the final period in a long string of sentences touting several happy years of buyer demand and sales excitement” for the housing industry.

Sean LaSalle, President of GLVR, said, “Although residential real estate should continue along a mostly positive line for the rest of the year, rising prices and interest rates, coupled with salary stagnation and a generational trend toward home purchase delay or even disinterest, could create an environment of declining sales.

“However, rather than dwelling on predictions of a somber future, it is well worth the effort to manage the fundamentals that will lead to an ongoing display of healthy balance,” said LaSalle.

The GLVR report stated that tracking reputable news sources for housing market predictions makes good sense, as does observing trends based on meaningful statistics.

“By the numbers, we continue to see pockets of unprecedented price heights combined with low days on market and an economic backdrop conducive to consistent demand,” stated the GLVR September report.

House sales

Closed sales in August were up 4.7 percent to 907, compared to 866 houses sold in August 2017.

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 another solid month and market balance, according to the GLVR.

In September, Closed Sales increased to 77.

The Median Sales Price increased to $148,875.

Pending Sales climbed to 61.

Inventory was up to 377 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