2019 Berks County Real Estate Statistics ~ Looking Ahead to 2020
It's time to take a look at Berks County's single-family residential real estate statistics for 2019 and see what it tells us about 2020. Will the story continue to be the low available home inventory? Let's take a look at the numbers.
The Inventory Conundrum
The real estate story both nationally and locally in 2018 and 2019 was the low available home inventory. Presently here in Berks County, there are a mere 873 homes for sale. If we remove paper houses (new unbuilt homes ~ 145), there is an amazingly low total of 728. In comparison, last January, there were 1,064 available homes, or 21% more.
If you want my take on why the inventory is at all-time lows, visit my website and read my recent article entitled "LOW AVAILABLE HOME INVENTORY MAY BE THE NEW NORMAL."
What About Sales?
There was a total of 6,448 homes listed throughout 2019, and 5,322 total sales. The number was 2.4% higher than the total sales of 5,195 homes in 2018. The listed home's total was 1.6% higher than the 2018 total of 6,346. Yes, there were actually more homes available overall!
Low home inventory tends to drive prices up, and that is what happened in 2018 and 2019. In 2018 the Berks County median home price was $164,000, which was a meager 0.6% higher than the 2017 median sales price total of $163,000. The median substantially jumped to $173,000 in 2019, a rise of 5.5% over the 2018 median.
Not surprisingly, April through August was the most active sales period with honorable mention going to October, which saw 1,026 homes go under contract and 505 sold.
Berks Home Market Prediction for 2020
The recent price increase could be the start of a strong rising price trend. If inventory continues to achieve new lows, mortgage interest rates stay low, property taxes don't spike, and the general economic environment is consistent with the past two years, we should see continued median price appreciation in the 5% to 6% range.
Median home sales above $350,000 rose 2.24% over 2018 prices. Much of the price pressure in this range is likely due to property taxes and FHA lending limits. Higher than average property taxation can have an impact on new home sales, which are often higher priced. I am hopeful we will see improvements in this area.
It is still my hope that our Pennsylvania Legislators find a solution to the property tax issue. Remember, it is an election year, and you own the vote!
Happy New Year!
Knowledge is Power!
Jeffrey C. Hogue