As the main source of real estate information in the Lehigh Valley, the Greater Lehigh Valley Association of REALTORS® is pleased to provide in-depth data on our local housing market. Information is gathered from our Multiple Listing Service (MLS) generating data from over 2,000 Realtor® members.
For 2020, the National Association of REALTORS® Chief Economist Lawrence Yun sees good news for home prices. "National median home price growth is in no danger of falling due to inventory shortages and will rise by 4%," the long-term NAR economist predicts. He is also expecting the new-home construction market sales to increase 10%. Yun and others would like to see home builders bring more affordable units to market to help ease shortages and slow price gains in that segment.
New Listings decreased 20.8% to 644. Pending Sales were up 15.0% to 613. Inventory levels shrank 34.8% to 1,138 units.
Prices were even with last year. The Median Sales Price held steady at $185,000. Days on Market was down 14.9% to 40 days. Sellers were encouraged as Months Supply of Inventory was down 36.0% to 1.6 months.
We start off the year with continued low interest rates, low unemployment, and rising rents nationally. These factors should encourage healthy buyer demand and sets us up for a strong start to the 2020 housing market and a lot of optimism for the coming spring market.
In 2019 homes prices were up again in most markets. Buyer demand continues to be strong but with tepid Seller activity in many locations, total sales are lower than they would normally be in a more balanced market. While up from their recent lows a few months ago, mortgage rates end the year close to three-quarters of a percent lower than a year ago, helping to improve affordability and offset rising home prices.
New Listings decreased 7.3% to 422. Pending Sales were down 4.3% to 449. Inventory levels shrank 25.4% to 1,284 units.
Prices continued to gain traction. The Median Sales Price increased 5.3% to $200,000. Days on Market remained flat at 42 days. Sellers were encouraged as Months Supply of Inventory was down 25.0% to 1.8 months.
With low mortgage rates, low unemployment, and continued wage growth, home buyer activity is expected to remain healthy into the new year. New construction has been on the rise in 2019 and is expected to continue into 2020, but many experts note that the country is still not building enough new units to quench demand. It remains to be seen whether existing homeowners will be enticed to sell by higher home prices, which could finally bring the overall housing market into greater balance.
In November 2019, the Federal Reserve reduced its benchmark rate for the third time this year. This action was widely anticipated by the market. Mortgage rates have remained steady this month and are still down more than 1% from last year at this time. Residential new construction activity continues to rise nationally. The U.S. Commerce Department reports that new housing permits rose 5% in October to a new 12-year high of 1.46 million units.
New Listings decreased 9.6% to 614. Pending Sales were up 18.0% to 656. Inventory levels shrank 29.2% to 1,488 units.
Prices continued to gain traction. The Median Sales Price increased 5.1% to $205,000. Days on Market was down 10.5 % to 34 days. Sellers were encouraged as Months Supply of Inventory was down 33.3% to 2.0 months.
While many economic signs are quite strong, total household debt has been rising for twenty-one consecutive quarters and is now $1.3 trillion higher than the previous peak of $12.68 trillion in 2008. While delinquency rates remain low across most debt types (including mortgages), higher consumer debt loads can limit future household spending capability and increase risk if the economy slows down.
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*Courtesy of the Greater Lehigh Valley Association of REALTORS®