Lehigh Valley ended 2019 with record-low monthly housing supply
The Lehigh Valley ended the year 2019 with a record: The lowest monthly supply of housing the local Realtors' association has ever recorded.
In December, that figure reached 1.8 months, a record low since the Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors Group started collecting data in 1996.
In other words, based on the current pace, if no new homes came onto the scene, all the homes on the market in the Lehigh Valley would sell off in less than 2 months.
"It remains to be seen whether existing homeowners will be enticed to sell by higher home prices, which could finally bring the overall housing market into greater balance," said GLVR President Carl Billera in the latest market report, released Tuesday.
Balance typically means six or seven months of inventory, according to the National Association of Realtors.
But balance is not what the Lehigh Valley has; the region instead has shy sellers amid a seller's market. The median home price increased year-over-year 11 out of 12 months in 2019, with a 5.3% increase in December to $200,000. Meanwhile, December's 626 home sales, though up 10% from 2018, is still below what agents would expect in a balanced market, the report states.
The Housing Affordability Index, on the other hand, has trended steadily upward in 2019 as mortgage rates have lowered and flattened to a rate that is 0.75 percentage points lower than the end of 2018.
In summary: The region needs new sellers and new construction.