Home sales slumped in the Delaware Valley/Lehigh Valley region in September, but many areas continued to see rising median sale prices, according to Long & Foster Real Estate’s Market Minute report.
Camden County experienced an 11 percent increase in median sale price, followed by Mercer and Burlington counties where it rose by 8 percent and 5 percent, respectively. The number of homes sold fell by 3 percent in Gloucester County and by 7 percent in Mercer County.
Active inventory fell throughout the Delaware Valley/Lehigh Valley region last month, with Mercer County seeing a 9 percent decrease. Inventory declined by 15 percent in both Burlington and Gloucester counties. On average, homes spent about two months on the market, with days on market averages ranging from 56 days in Mercer County to 65 days in Gloucester County.
The lack of housing inventory has depressed the number of properties sold month after month, which was particularly evident in September, said Gary Scott, president of Long & Foster Real Estate. Looking ahead, prices are likely to climb beyond the reach of more buyers as mortgage interest rates stretch toward the 5 percent mark and wage growth fails to keep up with current cost trends.
Historically speaking, 5 percent interest rates are still quite low, but consumers have become accustomed to the lower rates seen in recent years. There’s a limit to how much money most people can budget for housing per month, if wage increases are not keeping up, Scott said.
“This is the first time in about five years that we think demand will be affected from an affordability perspective,” Scott said. “It’s worth noting, however, that all real estate trends are hyper-local and this may not apply to everyone. Buyers and sellers should connect with a local Long & Foster agent to help them navigate their own marketplaces.”
The broader story that we’re seeing is a market where the limited supply has been consumed by demand, which is now eroding the number of units sold, Scott said. The mix of high demand and low supply can lead to much higher home prices. However, in this case, consumers don’t have more money to spend, especially with rising interest rates.
The combination of these trends are almost certain to lead to higher housing costs in the future, so delaying a home purchase could end up being costly, Scott said.
“Homeownership is still the surest way to build wealth,” he said. “It’s an appreciating asset and there are tax benefits to it, but it’s also an investment that you can touch, enjoy and create memories in.”
The Long & Foster Market Minute is an overview of market statistics based on residential real estate transactions for more than 500 local areas and neighborhoods and over 100 counties in eight states. The easy-to-read, easy-to-share reports include information about each area’s units sold, active inventory, median sale prices, list to sold price ratio, days on market and more.
Information included in this report is based on data supplied by TREND multiple listing service and its member associations of Realtors, which are not responsible for its accuracy. The reports include residential real estate transactions within specific geographic regions, not just Long & Foster sales, and they do not reflect all activity in the marketplace. Information contained in this report is deemed reliable but not guaranteed, should be independently verified, and does not constitute an opinion of TREND or Long & Foster Real Estate.