The Berks County Real Estate Market Statistics for February 2015 are in!
While the weather in Berks was undoubtedly cold in February, home sales were hot. Market sales of homes was up a whopping 17% over the 2014 numbers. This sounds great but wait. Median home sold price was down an even more astonishing 15%. It is unusual to see prices drop that much when inventory of available homes is down 6.8%, interest rates have declined and gas prices are over $1.50 per gallon lower than last year at this same time.
Normally when the inventory of available homes shrinks you see a rise in prices due to supply and demand (economics 101). Add cost of living factors, such as fossil fuel prices dropping, to the equation and one would believe that it would be even more affordable to own a home. Obviously it is, just at a lower price point in Berks County.
Some economic analysts are calling for it to be a prosperous spring season for real estate. Doug Duncan, senior vice president and chief economist at Fannie Mae says “An improving economy, strengthening employment and increasing consumer confidence should support a modest housing expansion in 2015.” Read the full article on Inman called Lenders Forecast HERE.
Realtor Magazine publised an article put out by Freddie Mac: 2015 to Mark Best Year for Home Sales. It is obvious that lenders think 2015 will be a banner year in home sales. The real question is, when don’t they?
Fortune Magazine did a positive and insightful article in January of this year. It is called “10 reasons the housing market could go ballistic this spring.” Joshua Brown states “I’m guessing here. My forecasts aren’t any better than anyone else’s, so don’t trade on this. But my gut is telling me that the U.S. housing market could go ballistic this spring, specifically for single-family homes—especially among first-time buyers.”
Diana Olick of CNBC wrote a piece at about the same time called “What could derail the housing market in 2015.” She says “The housing recovery began losing steam toward the end of 2014. Rising home prices and tight credit combined to sideline potential buyers, especially those considering an investment in their first home. While hopes are high for 2015’s spring market, there are several headwinds that could derail some of that optimism.”
I suppose it just depends who you ask. If you ask me, homes are selling and prices are falling in Berks County because people are tired of sitting on a home that will not sell for what they feel it is worth. They want to get on with their life ambitions. Berks County home sellers are finally discovering that we are no longer in a down market, it is just THE market. After a decade of the same old same it is time to realize that it may be a long time before house prices rise to the levels seen in 2005.
Berks County is a great place to live. It will be even better when it gets it’s fiscal house in order, creates some much needed jobs and gets property taxes in straightened out. When those things are accomplished we can compete equally with the neighboring counties of Lancaster, Lehigh, Chester and Montgomery.
My hope is that we have a nice spring and summer season and the Berks County real estate market heats up. We certainly deserve it.
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