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April housing report: York buyers 'settling'
While York County's Realtors have continued to deal with low inventory, the home sales continue to increase.
April home sales increased 22 percent over April 2015 figures, marking the 17th consecutive month of year-over-year growth, according to a report from the Realtors Association of York and Adams Counties.
Tony Thomas, RAYAC's president, said inventory is particularly low in the "first-time buyer price range," which he described as approximately $120,000-$180,000.
However, the market continues to boom — 476 homes sold during April and 1,530 in 2016 to date — because buyers are showing a sense of urgency and "settling" for a less than ideal fit, Thomas said.
"After searching for a while, competing against multiple bids and constantly missing out on homes, some people are just taking what they can get," he said.
Thomas said the housing inventory typically increases this time of year, but he hasn't seen any noticeable change yet.
The districts that saw the most home sales during April were Dallastown (74 homes) and Red Lion (47 homes); both districts had increases of more than 70 percent over April 2015, according to the report.
Prices up: With high demand and low inventory, houses are starting to sell for more money in York County.
Homes sold during April in the county for a median price of $154,700, which was an 8 percent increase over April 2015. That increase comes after modest ($100 increase in February) or nonexistent ($750 decrease in March) year-over-year increases the past couple of months.
Thomas said the higher sale prices is expected, given the market trends and continued low interest rates.
Thomas added that a decrease in mortgage foreclosures is also contributing to higher prices.
A mortgage foreclosure is a legal process where a lender, such as a bank, brings a lawsuit to sell the mortgaged property because loan payments have not been made.
Mortgage foreclosure filings were down to 1,224 for 2015 in York County, according to the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts. That figure is currently unverified, but spokeswoman Kimberly Bathgate said the office doesn't anticipate the number changing much.
If correct, that number would be the lowest since at least 2011, when 1,227 mortgage foreclosures were filed. The county saw a recent high in 2013 with 1,796 filings.
Thomas said bank-foreclosed properties are typically sold for lower prices, which can skew the market. He added that he expects mortgage foreclosures to continue to dwindle.
The districts that saw the highest median sale prices during April were Northern York ($261,500) and Southern York ($219,000).