Median sale price and number of homes sold increased across most of the greater Philadelphia real estate market in December, according to Long & Foster Real Estate’s Market Minute Report. Delaware County experienced the greatest increase in median sale price with a 24% rise.
The number of homes sold rose across most of the region, with both Chester and Delaware Counties exhibiting 14% increases. Inventory continued its downward trend across the region, with Bucks County experiencing a 38% decline followed by Montgomery County with a 33% drop.
Low housing inventory was more challenged in December and, generally, will remain a challenge in 2020, according to Gary Scott, president of Long & Foster Real Estate. “The low inventory environment we are experiencing today is in part, caused by the population aging in place,” said Scott. “At some point in time in the near future, we predict aging in place will lead to selling at a robust pace for a 10-year period. When will that start? Probably not in 2020.”
Scott noted that his 33 years in the real estate business suggests the spring real estate market begins each year on January 15. “With the holidays over, and the kids back in school, people traditionally begin to focus on selling or buying now,” said Scott. “Although the shortage of inventory will cause the number of homes sold this year to be off, we expect good healthy appreciation for homeowners.”
For those considering buying a home this year, Scott gave some insight on the pros and cons of buying versus renting. “Buying provides a sense of pride and stability, while renting provides flexibility,” said Scott. He added that buying a home builds equity and has tax advantages while renting keeps cash liquid. “There is no metric nor algorithm to determine if and when you should buy a home – it’s really about personal preference,” said Scott. “If you know you are going to be in living in your current location for at least two or more years, I recommend you buy a home.”