Page 42 - Network Magazine Spring 2019
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           Greater Lehigh Valley REALTORS® Release 2018 Annual Market Report
JUSTIN R. POREMBO, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, GREATER LEHIGH VALLEY REALTORS®
As the premier source of real estate information in the Le- high 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 pend- ing 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 improve- ment 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 per- cent 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 residen- tial 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 buy- ers, 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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