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SELLER’S MARKET As activity soars, a new paradigm could be on the way

If May’s residential home-sale market becomes a trend, a changeover to a seller’s market seems imminent.

If May’s residential home-sale market becomes a trend, a changeover to a seller’s market seems imminent.

Bustling with activity, the Greater Lehigh Valley saw a 7.6 percent growth in sales, jumping from 1,340 homes sold in May 2014 to 1,442 this May.

During the same period, pending sales swelled 19.5 percent while new listings dropped 2.9 percent.

What does it all mean? Inventory is flying off the market faster than it’s being replaced, one ingredient of a transition to a seller’s market.

“Things are very healthy,” said Jeffrey Sicher, vice president of John Monaghan Group of Kutztown, Berks County. “Inventory in May compared to last year is down. Total accumulation of inventory is 7.8 months versus last year at 9.1 months.

“A healthy market going towards a seller’s market is around six months’ inventory. We are approaching that pretty rapidly at this point.”

Salvatore “Sam” Ruta, associate broker and manager for Prudential Choice Properties, Nazareth, said that the market is very busy.

“Prices are creeping up, but inventory stinks,” Ruta said. “In certain price ranges, $2- to $300,000 in certain areas, we need more stuff.”

The need for good inventory echoes across the region.

“Things are changing a little bit,” said Lloyd Dreibelbis, director of operations for Berkshire Hathaway Homesale Realty, Schuylkill Haven. “That’s for the better. What we’re seeing is that we’re getting a lot more buyer activity right now. The bad news is that we could use more inventory for listings.”

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