2013 Pennsylvania Housing Market

According to the February residential real estate report from the West Penn Multi-List, Inc., the Southwestern Pennsylvania market strengthened for those selling their homes.Pennsylvania

“It’s a spring for selling in our region. Compared to last year at this time, we now are seeing fewer homes listed for sale, coupled with a significant increase in the number of homes being sold, which is depleting our housing inventory faster than it’s being replenished,” said George Hackett , current president of the West Penn Multi-List, Inc. and president of Coldwell Banker Real Estate Services, Pittsburgh. “This is helping homes sell more quickly and for a higher average price than they did last year at this time.”

A comparison of February 2012 to February 2013 data for the 13-county region the West Penn Multi-List serves shows new listings decreased 6.96 percent (2,746 homes versus 2,555), and residential homes placed under agreement increased 18.23 percent (2,633 homes versus 3,113). For the same time period, average home sale price increased 6.08 percent ($140,861 to$149,424), and average days on market decreased 10.62 percent (113 versus 101 days).

“People are taking advantage of the continued low interest rates and entering the housing market,” Hackett said. “We hope to see more sellers following suit in the coming months.  Working with a professional real estate sales associate can really help people price their homes to sell quickly in today’s market.”

These numbers represent the 13-county area serviced by the West Penn Multi-List, Inc., the definitive source for real estate information for its service area – Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Washington, Westmoreland, Fayette, Greene, Clarion,Lawrence, Mercer, Somerset and Indiana Counties.

According to RealtyPIN (¨Philadelphia Real Estate Outlook for Spring 2013,¨ Feb. 8, 2013), Philadelphia real estate professionals eagerly awaited spring of 2013. Here are the reasons why:

Sales prices are on the rise

According to recently-released data, the median sales price for a home in the Philadelphia area during the fourth quarter of 2012 was $137,450. That’s a 16.1 percent increase from the same time period in 2011. Like other metropolitan areas, Philadelphia is starting to see consumer confidence in the housing market return, meaning more prospective buyers are now actively searching to purchase a home. The result? Steadily increasing home prices. The higher demand means sellers can charge more for their homes, essentially creating bidding wars between buyers, and that’s always good news for homeowners and their realtors!

Listing Prices are holding steady

Oftentimes, a homeowner’s listing price and the actual sale price of the home can be very different. This is especially true in a market that is flooded with distressed properties due to foreclosure and short sales. Basically what happens is that the distressed properties end up selling for prices well below what the homes are actually worth, and in an effort to compete, “normal” sellers have to drop their prices, too. In the end, the value of every home on the market is affected because no one wants their home viewed as “overpriced” by prospective buyers. In Philadelphia, the average listing price last week was $213,135. That number has stayed relatively the same throughout the Winter, which is when home sales tend to drop off. The fact that we are seeing listing prices hold steady during the real estate market’s slow period means sellers are confident that they can get the price they are asking for when sales pick back up in the Spring – which is, typically, the busiest time of year for homebuyers.

Homes in all price ranges are selling

No matter how much your home is worth, if it’s located in Philadelphia, someone may be interested in purchasing it! If you take a look at the five most popular neighborhoods for home sales in the area, both Rittenhouse Square and Manayunk make the list. That’s significant when you compare the average listing price of homes in those two communities. Real estate statistics show that the average listing price in Rittenhouse Square was $1,068,422 last week, which is almost four times higher than the average listing price in Manayunk ($273,982). Because both of these neighborhoods are among the most popular with buyers, it proves that a well-maintained home in good condition will sell, regardless of its size and/or price.

More listings

Many homeowners are leery of listing their homes during the winter months because they know there are fewer buyers actively searching the market for a home during that time of year. When spring rolls around, many of those same homeowners decide to list their home, and experts expect even more inventory this year since sellers know that buyer confidence is on the rise.

Here are brief summaries of real estate market conditions in March, 2013, in several Pennsylvania cities, courtesy of Movoto:

– Lancaster’s home resale inventories increased, with a 50 percent increase since March 2013. Distressed properties such as foreclosures and short sales increased as a percentage of the total market in April. The median listing price in Lancaster went down from March to April. There were a total of 0 price increases and 4 price decreases.

– Philadelphia’s home resale inventories stayed the same, with a 0 percent change since March 2013. Distressed properties such as foreclosures and short sales remained the same as a percentage of the total market in April. The median listing price in Philadelphia went up from March to April. There were a total of 111 price increases and 1056 price decreases.

– West Chester’s home resale inventories increased, with a 8 percent increase since March 2013. Distressed properties such as foreclosures and short sales increased as a percentage of the total market in April. The median listing price in West Chester went down from March to April. There were a total of 16 price increases and 76 price decreases.

Click here for 2012 Predictions