Reading and Berks Housing Trend ~ Is there Change in the Wind
Reading and Berks home sales were on fire throughout most of 2018. Will fall and winter bring a cool to the real estate market? Let's see if the latest home sale statistics can help us better anticipate the near future.
It is the time of year when I am often asked if it is wise to sell a home with the holidays fast approaching. Most that pose the question have already surmised that trying to sell a home in winter is less lucrative and more difficult. While perception is often reality, I like to see what the numbers say. Let's take a look.
Reading and Berks Housing Trend - The Numbers
Inventory of available properties in Berks County remains at historic lows. As of November 8, 2018, there are 1,233 available homes which is almost a 20% decrease from November 2017. The home Inventory numbers continue to reflect a positive value trend.
Sold and settled homes in Berks County from January 1 through November 8, 2018, totaled 4,571 units, a 4% decrease from the same period in 2017, (4,759 units). It is interesting to note that home sales from January 1 through July 30, 2018, totaled 3,084 units which are all but identical to the number in 2017 during the same period (3,079 units). What is impressive about the 2018 figure is the sales number was achieved with a 20% decrease in overall inventory. Equally remarkable is that the median home sale price in July and August hit a high of $180,000 according to the Trend Market Trends report, a feat we have not seen in Reading and Berks real estate going back over ten years! A pure case of supply and demand working to push housing prices up.
Reading and Berks Housing Trend - Have We Peaked?
Home sales numbers from January through July 2018 outpaced overall 2017 sales in 6 out of the seven months. Since then sales have decreased compared to the 2017 totals. From August 1 through November 8, 2018, there have been 1,487 total sales compared to 1,680 in 2017, a decrease of 11.4%. Most notably was the month of September which saw 430 sold properties in 2018 compared to 552 in 2017, a decrease of over 22%. Fortunately, the median price held up in September at $172,000, an increase of 1.2% over the 2017 figures according to the Market Trends report.
Should I wait Until Spring To Sell My Home?
I recently spoke with a friend who relocated to Arizona from Berks several years ago. He told me how hot (literally) the real estate market was there. His impression was that they sell 3,000 homes a month in the Phoenix area and only a handful in Berks over the holidays and winter.
As I stated earlier, perception is everything, but numbers do count. December was the 6th busiest month for Berks property settlements in 2017 at 450 units sold. That number was higher than the March and April figures for the same year. The stronger than perceived "Off Season" data is in part due to a phenomenon I like to refer to as "The Holiday Effect. Read more on the subject by reading this article: Holiday Home Selling Guide.
The internet has certainly changed how people shop for homes and has diluted the home sale seasonality argument to a degree. If you need or desire to sell your home now, then do so. I believe the real estate market here in Reading and Berks is still strong, but the winds may be changing. One thing for sure is that I will be watching the trend so to inform my clients better no matter what time of year it is.
Knowledge is Power!
Jeffrey C. Hogue