I thought it would be helpful to stop at this point in the year and look at first-quarter residential home sales across Central Pennsylvania to see what areas are doing what.
Out of a little more than 4,200 properties sold in January through March, we see the York/Adams area posted the quickest sale time — “days on market” — with 69.5 days. That was on a sold volume of just less than 1,000 listings going to settlement. The median sale price was also the lowest at $135,000. All this indicates to me there is a “clearing out” of the market there, which is a good thing. Much has been made about the impact of foreclosure on the market and the fast turnaround of listing portends a brighter summer season.
The Lancaster/Lebanon corridor fared the best with regard to median home prices, falling to a little more than $152,000. Median time on market ran mid-pack for the region, at a little more than 73 days. I think the “urban effect” — larger numbers of lower-price row homes — of Lancaster on the larger region was the least of the majors (York, Harrisburg, Reading) and so the suburban market for resales kept the price up.
In contrast, the metro Harrisburg area, including Hershey, came in a bit lower at a $145,000 median price. I think this was the “urban effect” in play. Residential properties in the greater Harrisburg area posted a median time on market of just more than 90 days — the longest in the region.
First-quarter home sales numbers in the Berks County area looked similar to York/Adams with the exception of the median time on market being just more than 91 days. I think a balance between urban and suburban properties is causing this. The $136,000 median sold price closely mirrored the York/Adams price.
On balance, we see the areas supporting a suburban makeup of properties seemed to fare best in sale prices, while the urban-heavy areas seemed to move properties quicker in the first quarter. Keep in mind all this is a precursor to the “selling season” that is beginning in earnest as I write this. Stay tuned.
Jeff Geoghan is vice president of marketing and communications for Coldwell Banker Select Professionals and Select Services, based in Lancaster City, with 10 offices in eight Central Pennsylvania counties. Jeff lives in East Petersburg where he also serves as mayor. Jeff has been actively involved in local government and business and has been used as a source by local, regional and national publications.