Realtors: York County's housing inventory lacking

David Weissman
While the number of homes sold in York increased 12 percent from 2014 to 2015, the median sale price only increased 1 percent.

Emigsville resident Eddys Navarro has been searching unsuccessfully for a new home for more than two months.

The Baltimore City police officer, who commutes to work every day, said he would like to stay in the Central York School District, but his family — now with three children — needs an upgrade.

He has messaged his real estate agent with interest in about 50 homes during the process, but most of them were already off the market by the time he got to them, Navarro said. Of the 10 to 12 homes he was able to visit, they were all either too expensive or lacked what his family needed.

"I might just stay where I'm at for now cause I don't want to rush it," Navarro said. "This is the last home I'm going to purchase for raising my kids. This is where we're going to create all the memories."

On the heels of its best year since 2007 in terms of homes sold, York's housing market is now dealing with a lack of quality inventory, according to local Realtors.

Tony Thomas, president of the Realtors Association of York and Adams Counties, said he started noticing the lack of great properties for sale at the end of the summer.

"It's typical (for inventory to go down) once school starts, but this fall seemed really low," Thomas said. "It makes us (as Realtors) have to turn over a lot more stones.

According to RAYAC reports, the number of active listings during the fourth quarter of 2015 was down 529 homes in York compared to the fourth quarter of 2014.

York housing market finishes 2015 strong

Thomas, who works at Keller Williams Realty, said the lack of inventory has directly affected his business.

"Buyers are already skittish to begin with, so if we're not able to find them something for a while, they may end up postponing their purchase," said Thomas, who added that he's experienced that situation three times in the past couple months.

Ken Worley, an agent at Berkshire Hathaway, said he has also had buyers who recently exhausted the inventory that met their needs, was within their price range and in the school district they wanted.

"Any time there's a new listing, we're on it," he said. "With the lower inventory and increased need, we're definitely going to start experiencing an increase in pricing."

During 2015, 5,095 homes were sold in York County, which represented a 12 percent increase over the number sold in 2014, according to RAYAC reports. But 2015's median sale price of $152,000 in York only represented a 1 percent increase over 2014.

Worley, who's been a Realtor in York for about 15 years, said he predicts the median sale price will begin seeing a significant increase in 2016.

The last time he remembers inventory being an issue was in 2006, when sellers would sometimes get paid more than their asking price, Worley said.

"It got out of hand, and then the market crashed," he said. "We're not going to see anything that drastic this year."

Thomas and Worley both predict the inventory will start to be be replenished in the spring, and Worley said 2016 is shaping up to be a great year for York real estate.

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