Homes sales in Lehigh Valley slow, but sellers remain in control

Paula Wolf//November 16, 2021

Homes sales in Lehigh Valley slow, but sellers remain in control

Paula Wolf//November 16, 2021

Mirroring what’s happening in other markets, home sales in the Lehigh Valley declined in October but are still on track to beat last year’s total. 

Closed sales in Lehigh and Northampton counties fell 16.4% the previous month, from 912 to 762, according to a release from the Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors, a trade association. 

Year to date, however, they’re at 7,137, which is 10.5% ahead of 2020’s pace. 

“It’s still a strong market,” Tim Tepes, 2021 president of the Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors, said in an interview. 

Several factors account for the recent slowdown, he said, including inflation and the upcoming holiday season. Although they remain under 4% for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage, rising interest rates are also giving some potential homebuyers pause, Tepes added. 

The persistent inventory shortage helped boost the median sales price in October from $240,000 to $260,000, an 8.3% jump. 

Through the first 10 months of 2021, the median sales price was $255,000, up 13.3% from the year before. The percentage of list price received was 101.7% last month, more evidence it remains a seller’s market. The average time on the market was 16 days. 

Rural Carbon County is also covered by the Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors. There, the median sales price increased 1.4% in October to $175,000, and average days on market fell from 44 to 30 days. 

In the release, Justin Porembo, CEO of the Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors, noted that rents are rising, too. 

“With the strong activity and desire for Lehigh Valley living, we’re also seeing single-family rent prices increasing rapidly, as demand for single-family housing and inventory constraints (is) forcing some buyers to rent, increasing competition and pushing rents up across the Lehigh Valley.” 

The National Association of Realtors is forecasting improved inventory in 2022, the release said, which could bring price increases down. 

Still, “there is no longer a time of year that is better or worse to enter the housing market,” Tepes said in the release. 

“If you’re thinking about selling, there is no doubt a buyer is ready to strike.”