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LV housing shortage a boost to Carbon market

Published August 10. 2019 06:35AM


Lehigh Valley’s loss is Carbon County’s gain.

The Lehigh Valley continues to see a shortage of houses for sale for the number of people looking to buy. Those eager to purchase a house are not waiting. Instead, they are coming to Carbon County.

“Carbon is having a nice run on their market,” said Justin Porembo, the chief executive officer of Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors. “We’re happy to see a robust Carbon County market. The whole geographical footprint has seen a strong market.”

The number of houses with pending sales in Carbon has gone up nearly 22% for this year over last, as well as the number of sales that closed. Closed sales are up by 17%.

Although the number of days on market has increased slightly — 80 to 82 days — the average sales price has gone up.

In 2018, the average sales price in June was $143,532. In 2019, it was $160,462, according to statistics compiled by the GLVR. The year-to-year price is also up from $137,376 to $145,325.

“Carbon is not that much removed,” Porembo said. “They can live there, but still have access to the Bethlehem and Allentown.”

The highways make the commute to work easier, and buyers can find more for their money in Carbon County. Some people are looking for acreage or larger lots than the houses in the Valley provide, he said. Others want a larger or newer house than they can afford in the Valley. The average sales price in the Lehigh Valley is $229,407.

Porembo said Carbon County is also a land for adventure seekers and outdoor enthusiasts. Here, people can go skiing, whitewater rafting, hiking, and much more.

And with the expansions of Lehigh Valley Health Network and St. Luke’s University Health Network, there’s a lot of potential for the economy, too, in Carbon County, he said.

Add to it that the national economy is good, and unemployment and interest rates are low, and the real estate market looks strong for the foreseeable future.

“Brokers are optimistic,” Porembo said. “They don’t see an end in sight.”

But like the Valley, Carbon County could use more houses for sale on the market.

According to the GLVR, Carbon’s inventory was down 8% in June, over that same month in 2018. Inventory in the Valley was down 16%. Year-to-year figures were not available.

“Inventory is pushing on both sides of the mountain,” Porembo said.

For those who have decided to sell, they are getting their asking price 94.8% of the time. They also are getting multiple offers.

For buyers, Porembo recommends getting a buyer agent.

“Get yourself a Realtor to maximize your mobility in this sellers’ market,” he said. “There are opportunities for buyers.”



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