Low inventory continues to plague Pa. housing market

Persistent low inventory continues to affect homebuyers’ ability to purchase a home in Pennsylvania. The number of listings remained about the same in July compared to June of this year; however, total listings are down nearly 28% compared to July last year, according to the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors.  

There were 35,860 listings on the market in the state last month. 

 “Low housing inventory has become a defining characteristic of the real estate market,” said PAR President Al Perry. “The ongoing shortage of homes available continues to put pressure on the housing market and as demand remains strong, buyers often find themselves competing for homes.” 

The median home sales price remained steady at $225,278 in July. That’s up 2% from the same time last year. 

“Home prices remain strong throughout most markets in Pennsylvania. We saw about a 2% decrease in the median price between June and July, which indicates that home prices are remaining reasonably consistent,” Perry said. 

 The number of homes sold in July fell compared to June, which Perry said is consistent with the seasonality of the market cycle. He said limited inventory is clearly affecting sales as compared to this time last year. 

“Sales are down about 21% in July compared to the same period last year. We’re still seeing robust interest from consumers looking to purchase a home; however, there are limited homes on the market to meet the demand,” he said. 

Housing prices up, sales down across Pennsylvania

Housing prices continue to surge across the state. 

According to the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors, the median sales price has been going up consistently since January, hitting $210,453 in April. 

That’s up around 7.5% since the beginning of the year and is 2.5% higher year over year. 

“Spring is traditionally considered a favorable time to buy a home with milder weather making it easier for potential buyers to view properties and explore neighborhoods,” said PAR President Al Perry. “Many families prefer to move during the summer months while school is out.” 

One bit of good news, among struggles with low housing inventory in the state, the number of listings increased around 6% in April to 35,458. 

However, housing inventory is still down nearly 20% compared to April of last year. 

 “Despite various challenges in the housing market, there’s a continued strong demand from homebuyers, showing their desire for homeownership,” Perry said. “Many markets are seeing multiple offers on well-priced properties.” 

While inventory ticked up, home sales were down slightly from the previous month to just over 9,000 and are around 25% less than at the same time last year.

Home sales slow in Pennsylvania

While home sales are down slightly over last year in Pennsylvania, the housing market remained fairly steady in February from January, according to the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors. 

“January and February reflected similar numbers across the board,” said PAR President Al Perry. “The number of listings on the market was down about 17% in February with just over 31,000, compared to the same time in 2022, while in January, listings were down about 16%. These challenging inventory conditions are commonplace across many markets.” 

The number of homes sold was down in February, compared to the previous year. “As a result of the tight inventory situation and higher interest rates, we’re seeing sales numbers about 21% lower than the year before,” Perry said. “There’s a bit of a balancing of the market over the past several months between buyers and sellers. Interested buyers are finding there’s more room for negotiations than there was a year ago.” 

The median home sales price rose slightly in February to $199,678, compared to $195,123 in January. “The median price was up about 7% compared to the same time in 2022,” he said. 



GLVR reports on 2022 Lehigh Valley housing market

The Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors (GLVR) has released its report on the 2022 local housing market.
It shows that pending sales decreased 14.1%, finishing 2022 at 7,515. Closed sales were down 12.1 percent to end the year at 7,675.

Comparing 2022 to the prior year, the number of homes available for sale was up 6.4%. There were 602 active listings at the end of 2022. New listings decreased by 10.5% to finish the year at 8,942.

Sellers received, on average, 102% of their original list price. Year-over-year the original list price increased 0.4%.

Previous forbearance efforts by the government and lenders limited distressed sales activity once again.  

In 2022, the percentage of closed sales that were either foreclosure or short sale finished the year at 0.4% of the market – or 31 properties out of the 7,675 closed for the year.  

Foreclosure and short sale activity may increase in 2023, though the strong gains in equity seen by most homeowners in the last few years will help to limit the number of distressed sales.

Home prices were up compared to the previous year. The overall median sales price increased 12.9% to $293,000 for the year. Single Family home prices were up 11.5% compared to last year, and Townhouse-Condo home prices were up 15%.

In Carbon County, closed sales were down 5.2% to 799. There were 951 new listings, and the year closed with 91 active listings.  

The percentage of list price received at sale for 2022 was, on average, 96.7%. The overall median sales price increased 7.7% to $210,000. 

Looking ahead to 2023, The GLVR said much depends on inflation, mortgage interest rates, and the broader state of the economy. 

While economists predict many of 2022’s housing trends will continue into this year, home sales will soften, price growth will moderate, inventory will remain tight. 

Pa. Housing prices drop, sales still down

Housing prices in Pennsylvania fell during the month of December, but sales were still down. 

The Pennsylvania Association of Realtors reports that the median existing home sales price of homes sold dropped 11% from the previous month to $193,792 in December, which is nearly the same as it was a year ago. 

“Looking at our year-end totals, the median sales price overall for 2022 was $208,185,” said PAR President Al Perry. “That’s about 8% higher than the median price for 2021 and 21% higher than 2020. Like most of the country, I think Pennsylvania is starting to see prices leveling off. Most experts have been predicting a more modest 2% to 3% increase in prices overall this year, which is a shift from the more aggressive price increases that we’ve been experiencing the past few years.” 

Home sales fell slightly to 9,176 in December, down from 9,663 in November.   

Sales were down 33% compared to the same period in 2022 as a result of low inventory. 

The number of listings dropped to the lowest level of the year in December to 28,801. 

“Listings are down 20% from the same time last year,” Perry said. “Overall, we’ve seen the average number of listings decline about 10,000 each year since 2020. The industry has underbuilt homes for more than a decade and as more millennials look to become homeowners, we’re seeing a lack of available homes that they can afford. That shortage of homes continues to keep prices up overall.” 

Higher interest rates slowing Lehigh Valley home sales

With higher interest rates impacting prospective buyers, housing sales declined in December according to the Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors.  

GLVR released December sales data, which seems to show that sellers, many of whom locked in historically low rates when they purchased their home, now seem to be choosing to wait until market conditions improve before selling the home.

“While our region experiences a cyclical housing market with activity dropping over the winter months, the December market activity was compounded by inflation, soaring interest rates, and elevated sales prices,” said GLVR CEO Justin Porembo. “Economists predict sales will continue to slow and housing prices will soften vs. oversell themselves. However, the inventory shortage will likely keep prices from dropping too much, as buyer demand continues to outpace supply.”

According to GLVR, closed sales dipped 31% to 518 listings. 

Meanwhile, inventory inched up 6.4%. There were 602 units in December for Lehigh and Northampton counties.  

However, with inventory still not at sufficient, comfortable levels, the median sales price saw another increase of 3.6% to $290,000. 

Also in December, new listings slipped 18.6%to 364, pending sales were down 23.6% to 375,  months supply of inventory was up 25% to one month and percentage of list price received tumbled 2.2% to 99.2%. 

Homes sold in 25 days on average, an increase of 31.6%.

In Carbon County, the median sales price dipped to $200,000. Closed sales were down to 65. pending sales dropped to 52. New listings fell to 35. Inventory came in at 91 units, a slide of just three properties, leading to a month’s supply of inventory that increased to 1.4 months. Days on market dropped from 34 days to 28 days. 

“In good news as we head into 2023, we are predicting mortgage rates to settle below 6% and experience less volatility,” said GLVR President Howard Schaeffer. “Although rates remain more than double a year ago, they will likely stabilize as inflation will continue to slow down in the coming months.”

Lehigh Valley housing market sets records

This summer, it’s not just the weather that’s hot, the residential housing market in the Lehigh Valley has been setting records both in median sales price and days on market. 

The Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors reported June’s median home sales price came in at $316,000, an increase of 14.9 percent over the previous June. This new record breaks the one-month record that was set in May, which was $290,000. 

Homes sold on average in 12 days. The previous record was 13 days, set back in July 2021. 

“With monthly mortgage payments up more than 50% compared to this time last year, the rising costs of homeownership have sidelined many prospective buyers,” said GLVR CEO Justin Porembo.  

There are still weak points in the market, across the country 57% of Realtors cited a lack of inventory as the leading reason limiting potential clients from completing a transaction, according to the National Association of Realtors. 

“While some buyers are walking away due to higher interest rates or simply not being able to find a home that fits their needs and/or budget, the Lehigh Valley is a hot commodity, so for every buyer that steps away, another is waiting in the wings,” said Porembo. “The Lehigh Valley housing market is not cooling down quite as much as other parts of the nation.” 

GLVAR did not that closed sales dipped 14.5% to 771 listings.  

With inventory still not at sufficient, comfortable levels there were 770 units in June for Lehigh and Northampton counties – the Median Sales Price increased 14.9 percent to $316,000. 

Meanwhile, new Listings slipped 9.4% to 998; pending sales were down 6.9% to 829. And months’ supply of Inventory was down 8.3% to 1.1 months. 

In Carbon County, the median sales price increased to $250,000. Closed sales were down to 73. Pending sales slipped five listings to 67. New listings jumped to 111. Inventory fell two units to 129 units. Months’ supply of inventory increased to 1.8 months. “ 

“As existing home sales continue to soften, housing supply is slowly improving, with inventory trending – no matter how slightly – in a positive direction,” said GLVR President Howard Schaeffer. “In time, price growth is expected to moderate as supply grows; for now, however, inventory remains low, and buyers are feeling the squeeze of higher prices all around.” 

Limited inventory still a problem in Pa. housing market

Pennsylvania still has a tight housing market according to a report by the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors.

The association said listings dropped 14% in April compared to March and were down 33% from last year.

That means those looking to buy homes will continue to face availability and price challenges.

“Like most areas of the country, Pennsylvania has lots of consumers interested in purchasing a home, but the market has a shortfall of available properties,” said Christopher Raad, PAR president. “We’ve seen a steady decline in inventory since July last year. There was a slight uptick when our market reopened after the pandemic shutdown, but there aren’t enough homes to meet current buyer demand.”

Raad said there continues to be less than a two-month supply of housing inventory, which makes it a very challenging market on all levels.

While there is less housing inventory, residential real estate sales are up 38% over last year, mostly because the COVID-19 shutdown at this time last year prevented many sales.

Because of the tight inventory, home prices have continued to rise.

“Prices have consistently increased as the inventory has shrunk,” Raad said. “The median sales price for April was $183,820, 11% higher than the same time last year.”