Homes remain hard to come by for buyers

Paula Wolf//March 16, 2023

Homes remain hard to come by for buyers

Paula Wolf//March 16, 2023

Through February, the story of the local real estate market is still lack of inventory. And that shortage is helping to keep home prices strong, even as they’re no longer skyrocketing.

Statewide and nationally, it’s the same situation. In Pennsylvania, the number of listings in January (the most recent month available) was 30,513, down 16.5% year over year.

“The number of listings has continued to drop over the past several years and there are currently about 28,000 fewer homes on the market (in the state) than in January 2020,” Pennsylvania Association of Realtors President Al Perry said in a release.


Limited inventory continues to be the top issue facing residential real estate in York and Adams counties, said agent Reid Weinbrom.

“York County has less than one month’s supply of inventory, putting it at historically low levels. If there was more inventory available, we know that we have buyers who are still anxious to purchase,” explained Weinbrom, 2023 president of the Realtors Association of York & Adams Counties, in a release.

Both submarkets reported precipitous sales declines last month, with 631 settlements to date in York County (down 28%) and 105 houses so far this year sold in Adams County (down 26%).

The median sales price in Adams County was $264,900, a 4% increase from 2022; the median sales price in York County was $239,900, a 12% jump.

Weinbrom cited the York figure when making a point in a follow-up email. “While rising interest rates do continue to play a role in the housing market, the bigger issue is, and continues to be, inventory levels. So supply and demand dictates, and is driving, rising costs!”

Last month specifically, 48 homes were sold in Adams County, a decrease of 23% from the previous year. In York County, 325 units were settled, 21% fewer than in February 2022.

The median sales price in Adams County was $262,450, or 3% lower than a year ago, while in York County it was $236,500, or 7% more.

Lancaster County

In Lancaster County, closed sales fell 14% year over year, from 286 to 246; month to month, they dropped 7.2%, from 265 to 246.

The median sold price in February was $260,000, down 1.9% from February 2022 and down 13.3% from January 2023.

Average days on market was 28, and average sold to original list price ratio was 100.3%.

Jeff Peters, president-elect of the Lancaster County Association of Realtors, also focused on the inventory shortage.

“The balance that we thought we saw last month was quickly erased with a significant drop in new listings,” he said in an emailed statement. “Pending and closed sales remained somewhat consistent, but the lack of inventory is something we just can’t seem to shake. Another month of limited inventory offers no reprieve to already fatigued buyers.

“A significant change over last month was a reduction in our median sold price, from $299,900 to $260,000. This will be interesting to see if the trend continues or if it’s just an off-month in values. Considering the reduction in availability, a drop in the median sold price just might indicate the start of a slight price correction. Stay tuned!”

Harrisburg region

In the area covered by the Greater Harrisburg Association of Realtors, February closed sales dropped 19.9% in Cumberland County, declined 23.2% in Dauphin County and rose 15% in more rural (hence a smaller sample size) Perry County.

Median sold price from a year ago was down 6.9% in Cumberland, up 5.9% in Dauphin and up 13.2% in Perry. From last month, it inched 0.3% lower in Cumberland, grew 0.5% in Dauphin and rose 12.6% in Perry.

Average days on market were 28, 29 and 42, respectively, in Cumberland, Dauphin and Perry.

And average sold to OLP ratio was 99.2% in Cumberland County, 98.5% in Dauphin County and 96.2% in Perry County.

2023 Greater Harrisburg Association of Realtors President Wendell Hoover said in an email that sales numbers struggle “almost entirely because of lack of supply.”

“In many cases we are back to multiple offers on homes,” he added. “Often more than five offers in most areas and price ranges. The recent raise in interest rates doesn’t seem to be affecting the buyer demand for homes.”

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer