It’s no surprise to my fellow Realtors® that PAR’s recent market report showed inventory continues to be a challenge statewide. In fact, housing stock was down 39% in March 2021, compared to March 2020, with just a 1.78 month’s supply available.
When I talk to Realtors® across the commonwealth, I hear that low inventory continues to affect most areas of the state. Throughout the first quarter, we’ve seen less than a two-month supply available every month. Ideally, a six-month supply is what you’d like to see for a balanced market.
Pennsylvania is seeing about 10,000 fewer listings each month, compared to the same time last year. This year, there were 20,423 new listings reported in March, compared to 33,948 in March 2020. The numbers were similar with 22,020 listings in January 2021, compared to 32,631 in January 2020 and 19,769 in February 2021, compared to 34,781 in February the previous year.
If more inventory was available, I think we’d see even higher home sales because there’s demand from buyers. Instead, we’re seeing sales are down slightly in the first quarter of 2021, compared to the first quarter of 2020. In the first quarter this year, there were 25,505 sales, compared to 26,360 to the same time in 2020.
NAR’s Chief Economist Lawrence Yun recently commented, “The demand for a home purchase is widespread, multiple offers are prevalent and days-on-market are swift, but contracts are not clicking due to record-low inventory.”
Many Pennsylvania markets are experiencing an increase in housing prices, like many areas throughout the country. The lack of inventory and rising demand has fueled that rise. We’ve seen a 16% increase in the median sales price compared to last March. The median sales price last month was $185,603, compared to $157,881 last March.
I’m reminding homebuyers who are entering the market to be preapproved for a mortgage and be prepared to make an offer quickly, as I’m sure most of you are. And we’re doing all we can to encourage those thinking about selling their homes to do so because there’s a huge demand.