Home sales surge again in Lancaster County
Pending home sales in Lancaster County surged again during November, a new report says.
The Lancaster County Association of Realtors said Tuesday that pending sales here jumped 27.2 percent from a year earlier.
By climbing to 388 pending sales from 305, pending sales posted their best November since 2006.
Last month’s upturn was the second consecutive monthly increase and 11th in the past 12 months. Only a tiny dip in September broke the streak.
From a longer perspective, 24 of the past 26 months have seen gains in pending sales here.
LCAR president Mike Julian said the favorable factors that have fueled this lengthy rally remain in effect.
These include favorable mortgage rates, home prices and inventory levels.
“Inventory is good, but it’s not overwhelming. That benefits everybody,” he said.
On top of that, November’s figures probably got a boost from some October transactions that were delayed by the federal shutdown.
The 16-day shutdown paralyzed the loan-approval process and led to the furlough of 850,000 federal employees.
“I don’t know how else to explain” the exceptionally large November increase, said Julian.
Taking a closer look at how the local housing market fared last month, pending sales rose in four of five price categories.
Among homes priced up to $100,000, pending sales grew 23.5 percent in November to 63 homes.
Pending sales of homes priced from $100,001 to $200,000 — the biggest category — increased 25.8 percent to 205 homes.
In the next biggest category, homes priced from $200,001 to $300,000, pending sales were up 42.1 percent to 81 homes.
Pending sales of homes priced from $300,001 to $400,000 were 50 percent higher, to 30 homes.
The only category with a decline was the smallest — homes priced at $400,001 and up. Pending sales fell 35.7 percent to nine.
A pending sale occurs when a buyer and seller sign a sales agreement or contract. Pending sales are seen as the most current indicator of home-sales activity.
Most pending sales are completed at settlement in 30 to 60 days.
However, settled sales in November dropped 11.2 percent to 358 homes from 403 in November 2012.
The last time settled sales declined was in December 2011, or nearly two years ago.
Julian said the November slip in settled sales probably reflects the September decline in pending sales.
Price trends of those settled sales were unclear. The average price of the settled sales slid 0.5 percent to $187,200 in November.
But the median price (meaning half of the properties sold went for more and half went for less) improved 2.9 percent to $175,000.