Harrisburg region on pace for another solid residential yearJason Scott
The greater Harrisburg area posted a 5.9 percent residential sales increase through the first three months of the year compared to last year's first quarter.
Quarterly growth of 5.9 percent in each of the next three quarters, compared to the same quarter of 2012, would yield 7,532 sales for the year, which would be the best sales year since 2007.
That honor currently belongs to 2012, which was a year of recovery for the housing market.
A 5.9 percent annual increase would equate to 7,744 homes sold.
Over the last 10 years, the average annual sales total for the Harrisburg region — the primary focus being Cumberland, Dauphin and Perry counties — was 7,785, according to data from the Greater Harrisburg Association of Realtors.
That includes four consecutive years — 2004 to 2007 — of sales over 8,700 per year.
Over the last four years, this year's first quarter was the best for homes sold in the $300,000 to $399,999 price range, according to the GHAR. There were 111.
Last year, that price point yielded 78 sales in the first quarter and 505 for the year. In 2011, there were 369 homes sold in that price range, which was down from 444 in 2010.
The best first quarter was in 2010 with 83. The top quarter overall for homes sold in the $300,000 to $399,999 price range was the second quarter of 2010 with 157, according to the GHAR.
In March alone, Cumberland County posted its best monthly sales quarter since 2007 with 215 sales. Average days on market for the region decreased to 115 from 130 in March compared to the same month a year ago, according to the GHAR.
In other real estate news
• Capital Area Transit has extended its lease agreement for another 30 years with Harrisburg to continue operation of the transit transfer center in Market Square.
The previous lease was set to expire in July. The new lease is effective July 1 and runs through June 30, 2043, according to a CAT news release.
CAT will spend at least $150,000 to upgrade the transfer facility, including new landscaping, repairs and pedestrian shelters, according to the release. In addition, the Harrisburg Young Professionals will provide funding to enhance pedestrian access to the transfer center as part of the overall redesign.
• Gov. Tom Corbett signed Senate Bill 66 into law on April 18. The bill, which was sponsored by Sen. John Gordner, R-Columbia County, moves the State Tax Equalization Board under the purview of the Department of Community and Economic Development.
In 2010, there were numerous cases throughout the state in which STEB incorrectly determined market values within municipalities, resulting in wrong data in as many as 50 of the 89 school districts that require multicounty tax equalization, Gordner said.
The state Constitution requires uniform taxation, so it is necessary that locally assessed millage is equalized. STEB is tasked with this equalization on an annual basis.
Jason Scott covers state government, real estate, media and marketing, and Dauphin County. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow him on Twitter, @JScottJournal.