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Breakdown: A closer look at the midstate housing market

Annual home sales continue to rise in Central Pennsylvania, but what's behind those numbers?

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Midstate home sales cracked 16,000 in 2013.

That was more than 10 percent higher than 2012 and nearly 26 percent above the 2011 total, according to Business Journal analysis of sales data reported in Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon and York counties.

Good news, right?

Yes, if you're a Realtor.

Those figures do not include private transactions or new construction that did not involve an agent.

Translation: The numbers would be higher, though percentages could be comparable, if everyone was forced to use a multiple listing service, or MLS.

"For the most part, builders are not listing their homes," said Peter Gallagher, vice president of the Pennsylvania Builders Association.

Many large companies have their own sales staff and they are not licensed agents, he said. Contract builders, especially those who are only building a few homes per year, also are more likely not to use the MLS.

"In-fill, scattered lot and custom builders don't list on the MLS," said Gallagher, vice president of Liberty Homes, a custom builder in Monroe County.

New-home construction sales totaled 173 in York County last year, according to the Realtors Association of York and Adams Counties Inc. The MLS recorded 4,399 total sales in the county, an increase of 26.4 percent compared with 2011 sales, according to RAYAC.

A breakout of new-home sales compared with resales was not available from the associations covering the other four counties.

Jason Scott

Jason Scott

Jason Scott covers state government, real estate and construction, media and marketing, and Dauphin County. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at jasons@cpbj.com. Follow him on Twitter, @JScottJournal. Circle Jason Scott on .

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