The Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors Market Update

by Justin Porembo

Closed home sales in the Lehigh Valley cooled off during August; could be the norm for remainder of 2016.

The Greater Lehigh Valley REALTORS® (GLVR) reported August data that shows dwindling inventory numbers are beginning to adversely affect the valley’s real estate market — cooling down the sales hot streak the market’s been riding most of the year, but luckily not extinguishing rising prices.

Closed sales dipped for a second straight month in August, down 4.0 percent from 801 to 769 versus a year ago. New listings decreased 16.2 percent from 1,103 to 924. Months supply tumbled 45.5 percent to 4.2 months, and inventory fell 40.3 percent to just 2,807 units.

On a positive note, however, median home sales rose 6.0 percent from $183,950 to $195,000, and the average sales price also increased, growing 7.2 percent to $224,069. Pending sales were also up — 18 percent higher than August 2015 — from 672 to 793. Sellers were encouraged as months supply of inventory was down 45.5 percent to 4.2 months.

“The fact that there are not many homes to buy on the market has been a lingering issue in 2016 that we’ve been watching carefully, particularly over the past few months,” explains Greater Lehigh Valley REALTORS® CEO Justin Porembo. “Earlier in the year — for most of the year — we seemed immune to it. We were putting up some pretty hefty closed sales figures every month, but the issue of low inventory numbers appears to have caught up to us now. In July and now August, we’ve seen closed sales less than what they were a year ago.”

“When you consider that there doesn’t appear to be a solution to the inventory issue in the immediate future and that we are entering the holiday season, which is typically a slow time for housing sales, I think it’s safe to say that this leveling off of sales numbers is going to be a reality until the end of 2016,” surmises Chris Raad, President of the Greater Lehigh Valley REALTORS®.  “Even if this is the case, as long as the declines are slight and other factors remain positive, 2016 overall will still be considered a good year for all of us.”

The Carbon County data shows closed sales up 29.5 percent and new listings down just 27.3 percent. Average sales price dipped slightly, falling 3.6 percent to $98,693, with a percentage of list price received at 91.9 percent.

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