York County homebuyers have not been scared off by mortgage rates that have been rising since the election.
The county housing market saw sales increase by 19 percent in November, according to the Realtors Association of York and Adams Counties. There were 412 homes sold in November compared with 347 a year ago.
The growth was widespread across the county, though Central York School District led the way with 47 sales for the month.
Home prices in the county rose by 5 percent in November to $155,000 from $147,000 a year ago.
RAYAC President Tony Thomas said he remains pleased with the strong market demand, but mortgage rates will be something that Realtors continue to monitor heading into 2017.
Rates have increased to about 4.2 percent for a typical 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, according to MortgageNewsDaily.com. That’s more than half a percentage point higher than the average on Election Day.
“Right now, we’re still OK,” Thomas said. “Once we get maybe 1.5 to 2 points above right now, that certainly may cause some concern.”
A large segment of the population can remember when a low mortgage rate was around 8 percent. In the early 1980s, the average was around 17 percent.
More recent buyers have only seen historically low rates below 4 percent.
“For new buyers, certainly a rate increase allows them to purchase less of a home,” Thomas said.
As a result, homes in some price ranges may find a limited pool of buyers.
Realtors also remained concerned about a lower inventory of available homes to sell. In York County, the first-time buyer market includes homes priced between $140,000 and $200,000.
“That is a tight inventory for sure,” he said. “One of the reasons you’re not seeing the inventory out there is because a lot of people haven’t fully recovered as far as equity in their home. Or equity has returned, but income hasn’t to move up and buy at the next level.”
New-home construction has been gaining ground, which should help with some of the inventory concerns.