Strong November home sales in Northampton, Lehigh

Paula Wolf//December 21, 2020

Strong November home sales in Northampton, Lehigh

Paula Wolf//December 21, 2020

Home sales in Northampton and Lehigh counties rose 12.4% in November from a year earlier, as fourth-quarter activity remained strong. That’s according to a report by the Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors, a nonprofit trade association, which showed settlements climbing to 818 last month.

It’s historically unusual for the market to be this busy this late in the year, but “we’re still trucking along,” said Justin Porembo, CEO of Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors.

Other numbers were on the upswing as well.

Pending sales – a sign of future settlements – spiked 21.2%, to 733, and the median sales price jumped 19.1%, to $243,573.

In addition, the percentage of list price received actually went beyond the asking price, inching up 2.1 percentage points in November to 100.3%. And new listings increased 14.6% over last year, to 706.

“The Lehigh Valley housing market is performing exceptionally well, partially because of its proximity to major cities that are experiencing an exodus of individuals looking to leave behind high-occupancy locations and buildings,” Porembo said in a release. “We’ve always been a well-positioned market and that again rings true as we weather the global pandemic.”

“There’s still a lot of stuff in the pipeline,” he said in the interview. “We anticipate strong closings the week after the holidays.”

Mike Naratil, the association’s MLS director, said agents, sellers and buyers are embracing the industry’s onsite safety pandemic protocols, as well as virtual house tours, etc. “We know people are doing this safely,” he said.

Historically low interest rates continue to be a major incentive to buyers, Porembo said.

Inventory, meanwhile, remains low, shrinking 51.8% to 802 units. That led to a month’s supply of inventory number down 52.2%, to 1.1 months.

Average days on the market for sold properties keeps falling, and was just 20 days in November.

“Showing activity remains higher than the same period a year ago, suggesting that strong buyer demand is likely to continue into what is typically the slowest time of year,” Jack Gross, president of Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors, said in the release.

“… With inventory remaining constrained, sellers continue to benefit from the tight market conditions.”

The association covers Carbon County as well. In November, closed sales (89), pending sales (78) and median sales price ($198,000) were all up there.

The rest of the picture shows inventory dropping to 118 units, new listings dipping slightly to 62, and months supply of inventory at 1.5 months.