Salisbury Press

Thursday, September 19, 2019

LV house sales statistics show no increase in June

Friday, July 26, 2019 by Paul Willistein pwillistein@tnonline.com in Business Showcase

At the midway point in 2019, Lehigh Valley house sales were flat in June in the start of what is traditionally the peak residential real estate summer sales season.

Closed sales for houses in the Lehigh Valley showed no increase in June, 0.0 percent in June, with 901 houses sold, identical to 901 houses sold in June 2018, according to the Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors (GLVR) monthly report released July 15.

Closed sales for the first six months of 2019 are up slightly, 1.3 percent, to 3,955 from 3,903 for the first six months of 2019.

The number of houses sold has increased in each month of 2019, with the number of houses sold in June about double the number of houses sold in January.

Closed sales increased slightly in May, continuing a positive trend for two months in a row. Closed sales rebounded in April, reversing a three-month decline in the first quarter of 2019.

Pending sales were again on the increase, up 7.9 percent in June, to 906 houses, compared to 840 houses in June 2018.

New listings again decreased in June, this time by double digits, down 13.2 percent in June to 1,068 houses, compared to 1,230 houses in June 2018.

The average sales price again increased, 3.7 percent in June to $246,249, compared to $237,377 in June 2018.

The median sales price again increased, 5.6 percent in June to $216,500, compared to $205,000 in June 2018.

Inventory again decreased by double digits, down 16.4 percent in June to 1,718 units, compared to 2,055 units in June 2018.

Days on the market again decreased, down 5.9 percent in June, or 32 days, compared to 34 days in June 2018.

The months’ supply of inventory again decreased by double digits, down 17.2 percent in June, or 2.4 months, compared to 2.9 months in June 2018.

The percentage of list price stayed flat, 0.0 percent in June to 98.6 percent, compared to 98.6 percent in June 2018.

The housing affordability index decreased slightly, by 2 percent in June.

Market analysis

Low inventory again brought higher prices and houses on average, were selling in about one month in the Lehigh Valley.

“Home prices increasing only moderately is a contributing factor as to why the overwhelming majority feel that now is a good time to sell,” said GLVR CEO Justin Porembo

However, Porembo added, “With home price appreciation slowing, home-sellers understand that the days of large price gains from holding an extra year are over.”

“An extended trend of low unemployment, higher wages and favorable mortgage rates has been a terrific driver of housing stability in recent years,” said GLVR President Carl Billera.

“In addition,” Billera said, “with the Federal Reserve indicating it will not raise the federal funds rate in 2019, we are hopeful for an increase in housing sales in the second half of the year.”

Nationally, the second quarter of 2019 saw a jump in optimism in selling, according to the National Association of Realtors Housing Opportunities and Market Experience survey, with 46 percent of consumers responding that now is a good time to sell a home, up from 37 percent in the first quarter.

The Lehigh Valley, though, is still on the hunt for those sellers, according to the GLVR. Inventory levels shrank in June, leading to a Months’ Supply of Inventory that also dropped.

The GLVR concluded that its June data showed that the Lehigh Valley’s residential real estate market continues its stable pace, partially because the economy is performing well and unemployment is low.

As expected, the Federal Reserve did not change the target range for the federal funds rate, set at 2.25 to 2.5 percent, during its June meeting.

The Fed has received pressure from the White House to cut rates in order to spur further economic activity. The possibility of a rate reduction in 2019 is definitely in play following a string of increases in the last several years.

The Federal Reserve considers 2.0 percent a healthy inflation rate, but the U.S. is expected to remain below that this year.

In terms of relative balance between buyer and seller interests, residential real estate markets across the country are performing well within an economic expansion that will become the longest in U.S. history in July. However, there are signs of a slowing economy.

Although the economy is still performing well, uncertainty remains regarding trade tensions, slowed manufacturing and meek business investments.

Carbon County

In Carbon County, the Median Sales Price increased 3.1 percent to $132,000.

Closed Sales and Pending Sales climbed to 74 and 81, respectively.

There was a decrease in Inventory, which came in at 336 units.

Closed sales

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.

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