January 12, 2017

December Real Estate Market Sees Home Prices Rise as Inventory Continues Slump

The Greater Lehigh Valley REALTORS® (GLVR) reported December data shows that most of 2016 offered the same monthly housing market highlights. The number of homes for sale was drastically down in year-over-year comparisons, along with days on market and months of supply. Meanwhile, sales and prices were up.

Click HERE to view the full Market Update for December 2016.

“Unemployment rates were low, wages improved and, as the year waned, we completed a contentious presidential election and saw mortgage rates increase, neither of which are expected to have a negative impact on real estate in 2017,” said GLVR CEO Justin Porembo.
Closed sales dipped 3.5 percent in December to 601. Prices continued to gain traction. The Median Sales Price increased 3.6 percent to $175,000. Days on Market was up 7.6 percent to 71 days. Sellers were encouraged as Months Supply of Inventory was down 47.4 percent to 3.0 months.
Inventory levels – the big story for 2016 – shrank 42.9 percent to 2,025 units.
Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist for the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), visited the Lehigh Valley in September for GLVR’s annual Economic Outlook event. During his presentation, Yun pointed out that 2016 housing permits in the Lehigh Valley were trending near 1,500. Compare that to nearly 5,000 housing permits issued in 2005.
Yun is cautiously optimistic in regard to inventory, however. During NAR’s 2016 Conference & Expo, Yun said, “Multi-family housing construction has dominated the building landscape in recent years and only recently started to level off. Hopefully this is a sign that homebuilders will begin to significantly shift their focus to single-family housing. Both a large bump in new homes and homeowners selling is needed to get supply levels at healthier levels.”
Despite inventory concerns, there is optimism in the Greater Lehigh Valley real estate market, as 2017 is already off to a fast start for local REALTORS®
“The overwhelming feeling about prospects in residential real estate for the immediate future is optimism,” said Cass Chies, GLVR’s 2017 President. “Real estate professionals across the Greater Lehigh Valley are expressing that they are as busy as ever. There are certainly challenges in this market, like continued low inventory and higher competition for those fewer properties, but opportunities abound for hardworking agents and diligent consumers.”
In Carbon County, new listings were down 33.3 percent. The Median Sales Price increased 12.5 percent to $126,000. Inventory levels shrank 23.3 percent to 322 units. Months Supply of Inventory was down 35 percent to 6.7 months. Closed sales, year-to-date, were up 16.8 percent to 549.