January 12, 2018

Seasonal Slowdown Can't Stop Climbing Prices, Fast-moving Homes

The Greater Lehigh Valley REALTORS® (GLVR) reported December housing data showed a seasonal slowdown, but homes are still moving quickly and selling at higher prices.

Click HERE to view the full Market Update report for December 2017.

“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. “Buyers may not benefit from higher prices, but sellers do, and there should be more listing activity by more confident sellers in 2018.”
 
In December, New Listings decreased 10.2 percent to 448. Pending Sales, however, were up 7.5 percent to 461. Inventory levels shrank 28.4 percent to 1,606 units, leading to a Months Supply of Inventory that dropped 35.3 percent to 2.2 months. Days on Market was down 24.6 percent to 52 days.
 
Prices continued to gain traction. The Median Sales Price increased 3.2 percent to $182,750. The last time the Median Sales Price hit this level was in December 2009 and 2010, when it reached $184,000 and $181,000, respectively.
 
“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.”
 
Despite the 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.”
 
In Carbon County, the Median Sales Price dropped 16.1 percent to $106,500. Inventory levels shrank 20.2 percent to 277 units. Months Supply of Inventory was down 27.4 percent to 5.3 months. However, Pending Sales climbed 9.1 percent to 36, and there was an increase of Closed Sales, which hit 43.