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Report offers dim view of housing market

Home sales remained soft in April in most markets, including the Lehigh Valley.

The Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors released April data on Tuesday, which showed new listings fell 6.4 percent to 1,128, compared to last year.

Pending sales were up 7.9 percent to 919, while inventory levels shrank 10.2 percent to 1,588 units.

According to the report, median sale prices in April rose 1.1 percent to $192,000.

Homes also spent fewer days on the market, with the time dropping to 46 days.

“Not much has changed,” said Carl Billera, GLVR president. “It’s about on track with last year, which is not great. Closed sales are about the same. We are just holding steady. The weather has had some effect.”

Billera said wintry and cold weather days in April drove down foot traffic that  could have resulted in sales.

However, with the national unemployment rate dropping to 3.6 percent in April, wary consumers could feel some reassurance, according to Billera.

“Affordability is there,” he said.

Homes are selling relatively quickly but low inventory remains a drag on the market.

“Because of a lack of inventory, it’s stopping us from having a great year,” Billera said.

In order for sales to jump, buyers will need more spending power, or sellers will need to reduce prices, according to the report.

Neither situation is likely to occur in 2019, yet inventory is straining to keep pace in the most competitive price ranges, the report said.

These ranges are between $200,000 and $300,000.

 

Brian Pedersen
Contact the Editorial Department at [email protected]

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