Wacky weather over the past 12 months changed the dynamics in the residential real estate market for 2014, a trend most agents hope will not repeat anytime soon. The winter that lasted well into spring pushed back seasonal buying schedules.
“The year is pretty unique because of the weather,” said Amanda Renaldi, real estate agent with Century 21 Pinnacle Real Estate, Bethlehem. “Some people held off on listings this year only because of how cold it was for how long.”
But the cold was only part of it.
“This year has been tough regionally because we had a very late spring and summer, and just when properties started to come onto the market, they were abruptly halted by the hailstorm in late May,” said Bill Sands, broker/owner of Sands & Co. Real Estate, Wyomissing. “People had to regroup. People weren’t in the mindset, so spring and summer was definitely off for us.”
Despite the slow start, things seem to have stabilized.
September home sales grew an average of 7.65 percent compared to last September, resulting in 101 more home sales throughout the Greater Lehigh Valley. That growth averaged from a low of 53 fewer homes sold in the Lehigh Valley to buyers purchasing an additional 78 homes sold in Berks County – comparing last month to September 2013.
“I have everything from investors who are looking at $20,000 [properties] to buyers that are looking at $400,000,” Renaldi said. “There’s definitely inventory out there, but I don’t feel there was as good an inventory [in terms of quality].”
Renaldi sees stability in sales prices. While she anticipates modest growth, she said she does not believe the increase will stop anyone from purchasing now.
“People should purchase now before interest rates go up,” she said. “The increase in the interest rates is going to affect what they can actually purchase.”
What they can buy depends on a number of factors, including their financial qualifications.l