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Greater Lehigh Valley REALTORS® Release 2019 Annual Market Report

As the premier source of real estate information in the Lehigh Valley and its surrounding communities, the Greater Lehigh Valley REALTORS® (GLVR) is pleased to provide an in-depth report on the 2019 local housing market. The information that follows is an overall look at the 2019 housing market, in addition to predictions for 2020. 2019: […]

As the premier source of real estate information in the Lehigh Valley and its surrounding communities, the Greater Lehigh Valley REALTORS® (GLVR) is pleased to provide an in-depth report on the 2019 local housing market.

The information that follows is an overall look at the 2019 housing market, in addition to predictions for 2020.

2019: The Year of Strong Economy, Low Unemployment Rates, Still No Inventory

The 2019 housing market was fueled by the overall strength of the economy across most of the country. The stock markets reached new highs throughout the year, improving the asset bases of millions of Americans. Unemployment rates fell to 50-year lows, while wages increased, creating new home buyers. Mortgage rates also declined significantly from 2018, helping to offset affordability stresses caused by the continued price appreciation.

With a strong economy and low mortgage rates, buyer activity has been strong. However, most markets, including the Lehigh Valley, are being constrained by inventory levels that are still below historic norms. With supply and demand continuing to favor sellers, prices continue to rise. Locally, July saw a record-setting Median Sales Price of $222,000.

Another record broken for the Lehigh Valley was the Month’s Supply of Inventory. In December, the Month’s Supply of Inventory for Lehigh and Northampton counties came in at just 1.8 months, the lowest Months’ Supply of Inventory since GLVR began tracking statistical housing data in 1996 (Note: This record was broken in January, with the first month of 2020 tracking a Month’s Supply of Inventory of 1.6 months). In a housing market balanced between buyers and sellers, the Month’s Supply of Inventory is between six and seven months, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. This means that at December’s or January’s sales pace, it would take 1.8 or 1.6 months, respectively, to sell all the homes on the market in the Lehigh Valley.

Digging Deeper into 2019 and the Numbers

(Lehigh and Northampton counties)

SALES: Pending sales increased 2.7 percent, finishing 2019 at 8,678. Closed sales were up 1.7 percent to end the year at 8,587.

LISTINGS: Comparing 2019 to the prior year, the number of homes available for sale was lower by 25.4 percent. There were 1,284 active listings at the end of 2019. New listings decreased by 5.2 percent to finish the year at 10,904.

INVENTORY: Inventory levels shrank 25.4 percent to finish the year at 1,284 units. This led to a Month’s Supply of Inventory that was down 25.0 percent to 1.8 months. In a housing market balanced between buyers and sellers, the Month’s Supply of Inventory is between six and seven months.

PRICES: Home prices were up compared to last year. The overall median sales price increased 3.3 percent to $206,000 for the year. Single Family home prices were up 2.4 percent compared to last year, and townhouse-condo home prices were up 4.1 percent.

What to Expect in 2020

The housing market continues to remain healthy, with price gains and limited inventory being the most common threads across markets. Tight inventory continues to constrain buyer activity. New construction activity continues to improve but is still below levels required to supply the market’s needs fully.

As we look at 2020, we see continued low mortgage rates and a healthy economy giving a great start to housing in the new year. But in election years, we sometimes see a softening of activity that may temper the market in the second half of the year.

Full Annual Report

Curious to know what else the Annual Report contains? Contact a Realtor® today for more information or for a complete market analysis. You can find a Realtor® at www.GLVR.org.

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Greater Lehigh Valley REALTORS® Release 2018 Annual Market Report

As the premier source of real estate information in the Lehigh Valley and its surrounding communities, the Greater Lehigh Valley REALTORS® is pleased to provide an in-depth report on the 2018 local housing market. The information that follows is an overall look at the 2018 housing market, in addition to predictions for 2019. 2018: The […]

As the premier source of real estate information in the Lehigh Valley and its surrounding communities, the Greater Lehigh Valley REALTORS® is pleased to provide an in-depth report on the 2018 local housing market.

The information that follows is an overall look at the 2018 housing market, in addition to predictions for 2019.

2018: The Year of Low Inventory, Rising Prices, and Picky Buyers

Home buyers, now steeped in several years of rising prices and low inventory, became more selective in their purchase choices as housing affordability in 2018 achieved a 10-year low. In turn, the housing market over the last year saw a more seasoned prudence toward residential real estate.

Yet the appetite for home buying remained strong enough to drive prices upward in virtually all markets across the country, including the Lehigh Valley. In 2018, we saw pending sales increase 0.8 percent to 8,544. Closed sales were down 0.6 percent to finish the year at 8,373.

Home prices were up compared to last year. The overall median sales price increased 7.6 percent to $199,000 for the year, and sellers received, on average, 98.1 percent of their original list price at sale, a year-over-year improvement of 0.4 percent. Single Family home prices were up 6.8 percent compared to last year, and Townhouse-Condo home prices were up 6.7 percent.

Year-over-year, the number of homes available for sale was lower by 11.9 percent. There were 1,571 active listings at the end of 2018. New listings decreased by 1.1 percent to finish the year at 11,481.

Distressed? Not in the Lehigh Valley!

The foreclosure market continues to be a hint of its former unhealthy peaks. In 2018, the percentage of closed sales that were either foreclosure or short sale decreased by 47.9 percent to end the year at 0.7 percent of the market.

What to Expect in 2019

Consumer optimism has been tested by four interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve in 2018. Meanwhile, GDP growth was at 4.2 percent in Q2 2018, dropped to 3.4 percent in Q3 2018 and is expected to be about 2.9 percent in Q4 2018 when figures are released.

We anticipate the biggest potential problem for residential real estate in 2019 to be human psychology. A fear of buying at the height of the market could create home purchase delays by a large pool of potential first-time buyers, thus creating an environment of declining sales.

If the truth of a positive economic outlook coupled with responsible lending practices and more available homes for sale captures the collective American psyche, the most likely outcome for 2019 is market balance.

Full Annual Report

Curious to know what else the Annual Report entails? Contact a Realtor® today for more information or for a full market analysis. You can find a Realtor® at www.GLVR.org

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