Yorkers are apparently taking advantage of low interest rates and bargain prices as the latest local housing statistics show the number of year-to-date home sales increasing by 8 percent.
There were 2,526 homes sold in York County for the first eight months of the year, compared to 2,333 for the same period last year, according to numbers released Monday by the Realtors Association of York & Adams Counties.
Increases were posted in all but four of the 16 school districts included in the report.
RAYAC president John LeCates said he's optimistic about the numbers, which continue an upward trend that started around the beginning of the year.
The climb out of the post-mortgage-crisis slump has been gradual, which is a sign that the market is solid, he said.
"There are low interest rates, low prices," he said. "The market is rebounding, and it's a very slow and gradual rebound. I'm happy about that because I don't want it to be volatile."
Prices have been steady, with the median sale price hovering around $142,000, the statistics show. From January through August, the median fell less than 1 percent, $500, from $142,500 last year.
"The sales price has been pretty level," LeCates said. "It's still the problem of bank foreclosures and short sales and getting through that inventory. We are high up there with the percentage because, during the high-growth period, we had an influx from Maryland and other areas. Because of gas prices and people losing their jobs, they went into foreclosure."
While the county as a whole is emerging, some areas are still struggling to find their feet. Most noteworthy is York City, where the number of homes sold fell 35 percent, from 232 last year to 151 this year. The median sale price fell from $43,090 to $35,000, 19 percent.
"If we pulled out the city, our numbers would be really good," LeCates said. "But it's not just the city's problem, it's also the people in the county's problem. We all need to pitch in and help somehow."
The city's western neighbor, West York, seems to be attracting the people who would typically buy in the city, he said.
Though sales prices are falling in the borough, the number of homes sold increased by 33 percent, from 144 to 192 when the two years are compared.
"There are reasonably priced homes like the city, but the taxes are a lot less so it's more desirable," he said. "You get more home for the monthly payment. What's $60,000 in West York is the same as buying for $40,000 in the city."