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York County home sales jump 7 percent in January

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After posting a 5 percent drop in December home sales, the York County housing market saw an uptick in transactions to begin 2019.

The Realtors Association of York & Adams Counties said January home sales increased 7 percent compared with the same month a year ago. There were 343 homes sold for the month, up from 320 last January.

Despite a significant shortage of homes available for sale in the housing market, the association said January sales were the best that the county has seen for that month since 2007. The median-sale price — $172,900 — was also a county record for January.

But officials acknowledged that one month does not make a year, as listings remain a challenge.

"Even though the number of units sold in the month of January has increased over the previous January, we believe that the data is statistically insignificant and is in line with what has been typical for the month of January for the last couple of years," said Heather Kreiger, association president. "When looking at the data on a rolling 12-month basis, the number of units sold has been relatively flat since around September 2017, likely due to the lack of available inventory in that time period."

York County home sales in 2018 were up over 2017's pace through the month of April before the tide turned in May and sales slowly softened. For most of the year, home sales were off about 1 percent to 2 percent compared with 2017.

York County finished the year with home sales down by 3 percent, the first decline in six years.

However, home sales last year were still 75 percent higher than in 2011, the bottom of the market.

Sales had been rising by double digits annually for most of this decade, but the dwindling supply of homes to buy over the past two years has limited opportunities for new buyers.

The inventory crunch has led to homes selling at a fast pace and for more money, as buyer demand continues to be strong in a growing economy.

Indeed, the median-sale price in January was up 5 percent from last year, the association said.

Kreiger said rising prices are expected to continue this year.

"At the end of 2015, the median-sale price in York County was $152,000," she said. "That has now jumped to $172,900. Since economists are predicting that tight inventory is going to continue to be an issue in 2019, I think it is safe to assume that we will continue to see an increase in the median-sale price throughout the year."

Part of the inventory challenge for younger buyers, according to a new CNBC report, is that more seniors than ever are aging in place and choosing not to sell the family home.

By sales, nine of the 16 school districts in York County saw home sales increase in January over last year.

The Dallastown Area School District topped the list for most home sales in the county in January. Dallastown home sales totaled 44, which was ahead of the 32 sold in Central York School District.

Dallastown and Central York were the top two districts for home sales in York County last year. Dallastown finished the year with 648 sales, while Central York had 564.

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Jason Scott

Jason Scott

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

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