I received a call from Lisa Sandhaus of the Hempfield Suburban News, our local correspondent who attends our borough council meetings in East Petersburg on behalf of the Lancaster Newspapers. She is writing a piece for the Suburban News on the state of the Hempfield real estate market. I thought I'd share my research for Lisa with my readers, for your edification...
For my review I chose to look at homesale statistics for the last 5 years. These numbers help bring to life the changing market for homes in the Hempfield School District area, which includes my hometown of East Petersburg.
On October 15th 2003, at the height of the "sellers market" locally, there were 639 residential properties on the MLS. As of yesterday (10/15/2007) there was 951. That's a 50% increase! New listings of homes for the Jan-Oct period went from 519 to 766 between 2003 and 2007, another big increase of 48%. More inventory of homes, but why? I would suggest that the large increases in homes on the market in 2006 (952) and 2007 (951) indicate that homeowners are trying to cash out while they still can. The general sentiment is that the "bottom will fall out" sometime soon - ask anybody on the street.
The homeowners have a statistic in their favor. In 2003, the average Hempfield list price was $184,790. Today, it's $267,789. That's a 44% bump. Are the sellers actually getting 44% more? Well, the average sales price in 2007 is $233,478 versus $173,462 in 2003. So Hempfield sellers have enjoyed a 35% runup on average. That's not chump change! The entire MLS area, by the way experienced a 25% increase in sold price in the last 5 years.
What about the homes that didn't sell? In 2003 only .4% of listings expired or were voluntarilty withdrawn - basically none. Flash-forward to 2007 and 16.3% have expired or been withdrawn. Did these just go away? Nope, 66% were relisted or brought back on the market.
Bottom line - in 2003 your Hempfield School District house would have sold, and you'd probably have had to settle for 6-7% less then you listed it for. Today, it just might not sell without some effort & when it does sell you'll settle for 13-14% less than you listed it for. So, avoid the temptation to overprice and price to the lowest comps in your neighborhood (that is, if you really want to sell). The good news - when it does sell you'll probably do OK on the sale price if you bought it more than a couple of years ago.
I just hope you haven't run up too much home equity or credit debt, in which case you'll kiss it all goodbye...
For Lancaster PA homes for sale click here. Jeff Geoghan is a top real estate expert in Lancaster County, PA, and an involved community member. Jeff's work has been featured in the Lancaster Newspapers, WGAL Channel 8, PA Business Journal and Wall Street Journal. Jeff's blog on Lancaster County and its homes is nationally-featured. Contact Jeff for more help with your Lancaster PA Real Estate needs. Jeff is also a photographer - view some of his portfolio. Comments are welcome!
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