Catasauqua Press

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Closings of house sales down slightly for 2018 in the Lehigh Valley

Saturday, February 2, 2019 by Paul Willistein pwillistein@tnonline.com in Business Showcase

Closed sales of houses in the Lehigh Valley during 2018 were down slightly from the previous year, according to the Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors (GLVR).

Closings were down 0.6 percent, or 8,373 closed sales of houses in 2018, compared to 8,420 closed sales of houses in 2017.

In 2018, closed sales of houses decreased in nine of 12 month, with only January, August and October posting closed sales gains.

Pending sales were up slightly year-to-year, by 0.8 percent, or 8,544 in 2018, compared to 8,479 in 2017.

New listings were down 1.1 percent, or 11,481 in 2018, compared to 11,613 in 2017.

The average sales price increased 5.2 percent, from $215,519 in 2017 to $226,643 in 2018.

The median sales price increased 7.6 percent, from $185,000 in 2017 to $199,000 in 2018.

The percentage of list price received increased 0.4 percent, from 97.7 percent in 2017 to 98.1 percent in 2018.

The housing affordability index decreased 11.3 percent in 2018, compared to 2017.

Market Analysis

Home prices were consistently up again in most markets in 2018 but at reduced levels compared to recent years, according to the GLVR December 2018 and 2018 year-end report released Jan. 15.

“High demand for few homes for sale fueled price increases, but the evidence is mounting that inventory will finally improve in 2019,” GLVR President Carl Billera said, adding, “This may apply some downward pressure on prices for beleaguered home buyers.”

Closed sales for houses in the Lehigh Valley decreased 17.3 percent in December 2018, with 535 houses sold in December 2018, down from 647 houses sold in December 2017. according to the GLVR.

Pending sales increased in December 2018, up 17.1 percent, or 499 houses in December 2018, compared to 426 houses in December 2017.

New listings decreased 4.1 percent, or 444 in December 2018, down from 463 in December 2017.

Inventory levels again shrank, by 11.9 percent in December 2018, or 1,571 units in December 2018, compared to 1,783 units in December 2017.

Days on the market again decreased, by 17.6 percent in December 2018, or 42 days in December 2018, compared to 51 days in December 2017.

The Months Supply of Inventory again decreased, by 12 percent in December 2018, or 2.2 months in December 2018, compared to 2.5 months in December 2017.

“Unemployment rates remained remarkably low again in 2018, and wages continued to improve for many U.S. households,” GLVR CEO Justin Porembo said, adding. “Housing affordability will remain an important storyline in 2019.”

The average sales price increased 1.2 percent in December 2018, to $222,326 in December 2018, compared to $219,700 in December 2017.

The median sales price increased 3.8 percent in December 2018, to $190,000 in December 2018, compared to $183,000 in December 2017.

Continued the GLVR year-end report: It is generally good for all parties involved in real estate transactions when wages grow, but the percentage of increase, on average, has not kept pace with home price increases. This created an affordability crux in the second half of 2018, the report stated.

A fourth interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve in 2018 spooked the stock market to close out the year, observed the GLVR year-end report. The Fed has indicated that the number of rate increases in 2019 will be halved, which may be of little comfort to an already compressed consumer, stated the GLVR report.

LV house sales

Closed sales in December 2018 decreased 17.3 percent, with 535 houses sold, down from 647 houses sold in December 2017.

Closed sales in November 2018 decreased 3.6 percent, with 669 houses sold, down from 694 houses sold in November 2017.

Closed sales in October 2018 increased 0.4 percent, with 718 houses sold, compared to 715 houses sold in October 2017.

Closed sales in September 2018 decreased 9.7 percent, with 651 houses sold, compared to 721 houses sold in September 2017.

Closed sales in August 2018 increased 4.7 percent, with 907 houses sold, compared to 866 houses sold in August 2017.

Closed sales in July 2018 decreased 16.8 percent, with 655 houses sold, compared to 787 houses sold in July 2017.

Closed sales in June 2018 decreased 25.2 percent, with 719 houses sold, compared to 961 houses sold in June 2017.

Closed sales in May 2018 decreased 8.5 percent, with 765 houses sold, compared to 836 houses sold in May 2017.

Closed sales in April 2018 decreased 10.6 percent, with 591 houses sold, compared to 661 houses sold in April 2017.

Closed sales for March 2018 decreased 7.9 percent, with 595 houses sold, compared to 646 houses sold in March 2017.

Closed sales for February 2018 decreased 6.7 percent, with 421 houses sold, compared to 451 houses sold in February 2017.

Closed sales for January 2018 increased 2.6 percent, with 442 houses sold, compared to 431 houses sold in January 2017.

Carbon County

The December GLVR report stated that Carbon County inventory increased by 7.1 percent to 331, while months supply decreased 8.3 percent to 5.5 months. The median sales price increased 5.7 percent to $129,000 and pending sales climbed 36.7 percent to 41.

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