As the local housing market slows to a less frenetic pace, home prices in some areas show signs of stabilizing, according to August numbers.
Closed sales in Cumberland County totaled 358 last month, down 5.8% from a year ago. The median sales price was $300,000 in August, 13.2% more than 12 months earlier, and average days on market was 14.
Sales fell 9.3% – to 341 – in Dauphin County, where the median sales price of $230,000 was 6.5% less than in August 2021. Average days on market was also 14.
And in less populous Perry County, year-over-year sales last month were down 7.3%, to 38. As in Dauphin, the median sales price dropped, from $230,000 to $202,450. Average days on market in August was 12.
“It’s still a case of supply and demand,” Sylvia Hess, 2022 president of the Greater Harrisburg Association of Realtors, wrote in an email. “Although the demand frenzy has cooled a bit, supply is still critically low.”
She noted that prices are still considerably higher than they were in August 2019, which was pre-pandemic.
In Cumberland, the median sales price three years ago was $218,500, and active listings were 817, compared with 336 in August 2022.
In Dauphin, the median was $184,900, and active listings totaled 783, compared with 357 three years prior.
In Perry, $153,750 was the median in August 2019, while active listings were 112, or almost two-and-a-half times more than the 46 from last month.
Hess said that listings are generating fewer offers, and some properties are staying on the market longer. But they still sell fast if the price is right.
The need for properties to be priced appropriately from the start is key right now, she said, as compared with the last nine to 12 months, where homes were selling over list price and multiple offers were commonplace.
She said the market “isn’t the same as it was six months ago, let alone six weeks ago. Buyers are seeing more opportunities to negotiate, we are seeing home inspections once again become contingencies to offers.” There are also fewer cash offers.
“We are still in the midst of a very robust real estate market,” Hess explained. “It seems things are stabilizing, which is … great … for buyers.”
The Realtors Association of York & Adams Counties reports that 835 homes have sold in Adams County in the first eight months of 2022, which is a 2% increase from this time last year. In York County, there were 4,475 settlements through August, a 6% decrease from a year ago.
The year-to-date median sales price in Adams County is $279,000, a 14% jump from 2021, while the median sales price in York County is $244,360, an 11% increase.
In August alone, 112 houses sold in Adams County, 2% fewer than at this time last year. York County saw a 14% decrease in home sales, with 631.
The median sales price in Adams County was up 3% to $278,500, and the median sales price in York County was $250,000, a 7% increase from last year.
“It is important to keep in perspective that 2020 and 2021 were historical years in that they broke all previous records in terms of the number of home sales in one single year,” Elle Hale, 2022 president of the Realtors Association of York & Adams Counties, said in a release.
“The pace we are seeing today is similar to real estate market trends in 2019. Anyone who was in real estate in 2019 would tell you it was a great year.”
Mortgage interest rates have now surpassed 6% for a 30-year, fixed mortgage. As long as buyers stick with a manageable monthly mortgage payment that they’re comfortable with, they’re in good shape, Hale said in a phone interview.
Average days on market in York County is 8, she said, which shows inventory is still moving fast.
As people return from vacation and settle their kids in school, the number of listings may rise.
“We’re moving back toward a healthy market,” Hale said, which is three to six months of inventory. “We’re not quite there.”
In Lancaster County, closed sales fell slightly, from 580 in August 2021 to 571 in August 2022. Year to date, they’re down 10.3%.
The median sold price was $315,000, which was 11.9% more than the $281,500 recorded a year ago. July’s median was $300,500, so month over month home prices rose 4.8%.
Also, average days on market was 15, and the average sold to original list price ratio was 103.1%, as some houses continue to sell for above asking price.
Among properties that sold, 458 went under agreement within 20 days – 369 of them within 10 days.
“It looks like more of the same – listings are down, pending sales are down and closed sales are down year over year,” Greg Bardell, 2022 president of the Lancaster County Association of Realtors, wrote via email.
“Remarkably, (the) median sale price remains up (11.9%) and we still have less than one month of inventory … . With 458 active listings and 571 closed sales, we have about 24 days of inventory for sale. Interest rates have bumped up again and with a lot of focus on the economy nationally, I think a lot of people are pausing to see what happens next.”
Paula Wolf is a freelance writer