Western Pennsylvania home sales were up in the first seven months of 2016.
A new report from West Penn Multi-List indicates that sales were up 2.2 percent between January and July. Though it’s an overall positive sign, there’s also a downside said Ron Croushore, President of West Penn Multi-List and owner and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Home Services.
“The negative there is there is not enough inventory,” Croushore said. “We need more homes for people to look at.”
West Penn Multi-List includes homes for sale in a 17-county service area including Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Cambria, Clarion, Crawford, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Jefferson, Lawrence, Mercer, Somerset, Venango, Washington and Westmoreland counties
Croushore said interest rates in the low-to-middle 3 percent range is helping to drive growth.
“Some of the higher price range two or three years ago, we were having a little bit of a build-up in inventory, but they seem to be selling too right now,” Croushore said. “I think we are going to be real fine through this next year-and-a-half.”
The average sale price so far this year is $188,368, a .6 percent increase over this time last year. New construction is also increasing in southwestern Pennsylvania.
And nationwide, existing home sales are also on the rise. According to the Wall Street Journal, sales have hit a nine-year peak, but the numbers are still below what they were prior to the housing bubble’s burst.
Locally though, Croushore said Pittsburgh is doing well compared to most of the country. He's also seeeing rebounds in California and Florida.
Additionally, the region’s rental market had been strong but is starting to taper off a bit with some of the shale boom slowing, he said.
“Rent prices got a little bit crazy for a while,” Croushore said.
But with that demand waning and more first-time home buys leaving the rental market, those numbers have started to drop.
However, Croushore said the low interest rates mean many renters are able to get into homes with payments equal to what they were paying in rent.
Croushore said he thinks some buyers and sellers are pausing as they try to figure out what is happening with presidential election. However, he does not think it is putting much of a drag on the housing market.