In early June, close to 230 Realtors® gathered for Realtor® Day on the Hill to discuss homeownership within the commonwealth, lack of housing, and affordability struggles for homebuyers with nearly 90 legislators.
In attendance from the Greater Lehigh Valley REALTORS® were Government Affairs Director Matthew Marks; 2023 President Howard Schaeffer; Jack Gross and Tim Tepes of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Cassidon Realty; Jason Hall of Cassidon Property Management; Therese Kelley of One Valley Realty; Sean LaSalle of Keller Williams Real Estate; Craig Martin Jr. of Home Team Real Estate; Jessica Ortiz of Space Real Estate; Chris Raad of Harvey Z. Raad Realtors®; and Jim Regan of JPAR Action Realty.
From PARJust Listed:
Realtors® were there to advocate for homeownership in the commonwealth. Many consumers are struggling to find housing. Inventory is down nearly 60% from 2020, leaving homebuyers struggling to find properties to buy. Realtors® explained to their local legislators what issues are contributing to the lack of housing. For example, antiquated zoning laws have created obstacles to new home construction. Restrictions on accessory dwelling units deprive older citizens of housing solutions and limit the creation of new housing. Additionally, zoning restrictions can drive up costs, making communities even more marginalized.
The rising cost of construction is also contributing to the housing crisis. Higher permit costs, supply chain issues and labor shortages are all leading to costs rising for homebuyers as well. The National Association of Home Builders reported that less than half of new and existing home sales are affordable to the average household income.
First-time homebuyers are struggling more than repeat buyers. Less than 25% of home purchases were made by first-time buyers in 2022 and the age of first-time homebuyers reached an all-time high. More than 90% of would-be first-time buyers said they cannot afford a mortgage in this market.
Meeting with legislators that included Rep. Ryan Mackenzie and Rep. Josh Siegel, our group of REALTORS® provided Realtors Property Resource® reports specific to their districts, along with the association’s latest market report. Stories were also shared about clients making 20-30 offers before having an offer accepted, echoing the challenges buyers are facing in today’s housing market.
“Our advocacy for both buyers and sellers doesn’t end with one advocacy day in Harrisburg,” said Marks. “Legislators from the Greater Lehigh Valley were each given a report that details the current housing market in their district, and we were able to discuss directly with them how their constituents are being affected. Our legislators having a pulse on these issues will hopefully lead to solutions and relief in known trouble spots.”