August home sales beset by low inventory, rising mortgage rates

Paula Wolf//September 19, 2023

August home sales beset by low inventory, rising mortgage rates

Paula Wolf//September 19, 2023

Home sales in central Pennsylvania continued behind last year’s pace in August, as a new factor – mortgage interest rates nearing 8% – adds to the slowdown.

Greater Harrisburg

In the three counties covered by the Greater Harrisburg Association of Realtors, year-over-year house sales last month were down 22.1% in Cumberland County (358 to 279); 12.3% in Dauphin County (341 to 299); and 34.2% in Perry County (38 to 25).

Compared with July 2023, they were up 18.2 in Cumberland, up 22% in Dauphin and down 16.7% in Perry.

The median sold price in August was $308,000 in Cumberland County, an increase of 2.7% from a year ago.

Average days on market was 17, and average sold to original list price ratio was 100.7%.

In Dauphin County, the median sold price of $255,000 was 10.9% more than a year ago and 8.5% more than July 2023. Average days on market was 17, and average sold to OLP ratio was 99.6%, which is just under asking price.

Perry County’s median sold price of $242,000 is 19.5% above what it was 12 months ago and 9.5% higher than last month. Average days on market came to 22, while average sold to OLP ratio was 97.4%.

Wendell Hoover, 2023 president of the Greater Harrisburg Association of Realtors, said in an email that “the sellers’ market has continued,” as fewer homes are on the market as compared with last year, which has in turn led to fewer homes sold.

“Sales prices have continued to increase in comparison to last year,” he continued. “In talking to a lot of homeowners over the past few months, there are a good number that would like to sell but their low current interest rate is too hard to give up (compared with) today’s rates. So when interest rates do decrease, there may finally be an increase to the number of homes on the market.”


In York County, 515 homes sold in August, 18% more than in August 2022. In Adams County, 109 houses sold, 3% fewer than a year ago.

The median house price in Adams was $295,000, a 6% rise from a year ago. In York, the median home price was $275,000, a 10% jump.

Year to date, 719 houses have sold in Adams County, 14% fewer than a year ago through August. In York County, 3,561 settlements have been recorded in the first eight months of 2023, a 20% decrease.

The median sales price in Adams County through the first eight months was $281,000, about the same from this time last year. In York County, the median to date was $263,900, a 8% increase from 2022.

Reid Weinbrom, 2023 president of the Realtors Association of York & Adams Counties, stated in a release: “The continuous shortage of available housing inventory, coupled with strong buyer demand, consistently impacts sales prices, leading many sellers to receive multiple offers shortly after listing their properties.”

Lancaster County

Year over year, Lancaster County home sales declined 14.9% in August, from 571 to 486. However, they were up 12.8% month over month, from 431 to 486.

Average sold to OLP ratio was 103.2%, significantly above asking price.

Jeff Peters, president-elect of the Lancaster County Association of Realtors, said in a statement:

“August saw the highest levels of new listings this summer with 511 homes coming to the market; that’s an increase of 12.3% compared to July. Pending homes fell a modest 1.8% from the previous month, and closed sales saw a 12.8% jump compared (with) July.”

He also pointed out that the county’s median sold price rose to a summer high of $330,000 – a 4.8% increase over August 2022. “The average days on market for a home to sell was consistent with June and July, at 16. A similar trend of ‘cash’ purchases accounted for just over 26% of all purchases in August. Even with a slight increase in new listings, buyers are still struggling to compete for properties. I believe we’ll continue to see an increased median sold price as we approach the fall market.”

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer