The Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors said its August data showed a steady housing market in the Lehigh Valley as housing affordability hits 33-year low and existing-home sales continue to soften.
So, what can a home buyer do to better their financial chances? Shop around, according to experts.
“As mortgage rates surge and remain volatile, it’s becoming increasingly necessary for home buyers to shop around for a loan to find savings,” said GLVR CEO Justin Porembo. “According to Freddie Mac, borrowers potentially could save an average of $1,500 over the life of a loan by gathering one additional rate quote from a lender. And borrowers could save even more by gathering five different quotes from lenders – up to $3,000, Freddie Mac research shows.”
This week, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage pushed to an average of 5.89 percent. That means the typical household must now spend more than 25 percent of their income on mortgage payments, a level most financial experts consider to be cost-burdened.
“Mortgage rates rose again as markets continue to manage the prospect of more aggressive monetary policy due to elevated inflation,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “Not only are mortgage rates rising but the dispersion of rates has increased, suggesting that borrowers can meaningfully benefit from shopping around for a better rate.”
According to the GLVR, closed sales dipped 17% to 738 listing in Augst. With inventory still not at sufficient levels, there were 791 units in August for both Lehigh and Northampton counties and the median sales price increased 19.2% to $315,975.
The report also showed that new listings were down 15.5% to 789l. Pending sales were down 13.4% to 762 and the months supply of inventory was down 15.4% to 789. And new listings slipped 15.5 percent to 789.
The Percentage of homes selling for list price and above, while still higher than normal, did drop .7% over the prior month to 101.3% of the asking price.
In Carbon County, the median sales price dipped to $199,000. Closed sales were down to 65. Pending sales bumped up seven listings to 85. New listings slipped 10 listings to 80. Inventory remained steady, decreasing just two listings to come in at 138 units, leading to a months supply of inventory that increased to 5.3 months. Days on Market increased to 26 days.
“Inflation, higher interest rates, and fears of a potential recession have taken a toll on buyers and sellers this summer, leading many people to stay on the sidelines to see what will happen with the market,” said GLVR President Howard Schaeffer. “But some experts, including NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun, believe the worst of inflation may be over. Although sales prices remain up from this time last year, price growth is expected to moderate in the months ahead as the market continues to shift in a more buyer-friendly direction.”