August home sales beset by low inventory, rising mortgage rates

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

Former Central Penn Business Journal building sells in Harrisburg

The former Central Penn Business Journal building at 1500 Paxton St., Harrisburg, recently sold for an undisclosed price.

Offering easy access to Interstate 83 and downtown Harrisburg, the 55,450-square-foot structure is “an ideal investment opportunity,” according to a press release from Landmark Commercial, which handled the transaction.

Michael Curran, Landmark’s president and executive managing director, and Senior Associate Nick Martin represented the seller, Paxton Street Properties LLC. The buyer, 1500 Paxton LP, was represented by Sean Fitzsimmons, director of sales and leasing, and Associate Trey Brakefield.

The property’s main building is a three-story concrete frame and brick edifice, featuring modern design elements and Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility.

Also, the tract includes a rear building measuring 40-by-17 feet, constructed with brick, and a concrete deck roof covered with built-up asphalt, providing flexibility.

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer

Railroad Flats to bring housing, retail to downtown Mechanicsburg

A three-building parcel in downtown Mechanicsburg is getting new life with apartments and a restaurant planned by a pair of developers.

The 11 N. Railroad Ave. site, to be known as Railroad Flats, has been under the radar and underutilized for many years, said Rebecca Yearick, community and business development manager for the Housing & Redevelopment Authorities of Cumberland County.

“It will be the most prominent and impactful redevelopment project in downtown Mechanicsburg in decades,” creating new housing and jobs, the authorities said in touting the project.

Current tenants are Revelations Day Spa, which has been there since 2020, and De’Rielle Cosmetology School.

Railroad Flats is being developed by Steve Fleming and Chris Patrick of 36 West LLC. They bought an adjoining property at 36 W. Main St. in March. Now that building has three tenants in place: Denim Coffee, Creative Grounds and a soon-to-open photography business.

Yearick said the upper floors of the three-story buildings at Railroad Flats will be converted into as many as five apartments, with the first floor to remain commercial.

A corner, two-story building is set to become a restaurant and brewery, she said.

Settlement on the parcel is scheduled for Aug. 31. Federal funding of $275,000 that comes into the county through its housing and redevelopment authorities will finance the purchase, along with $60,000 from Mechanicsburg Borough to 36 West LLC.

The next phase, costing an estimated $1.3 million, will involve the demolition of a rear section and sheds, the design and construction of the apartments and vanilla-boxing the corner building for a restaurant/brewery tenant – including adding windows along West Strawberry Alley.

Yearick said the developers’ approach “melds well with what we want to do,” including making the downtown “a more walkable area.”

Paula Wolf is a freelance writer