York County home sales take a tumble through the summer

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch

Following a four-month decline in sales, York County's housing market saw the first signs of a substantial tumble.

In July, home sales decreased by 20%. The drop is happening at the same time as a rise in the median sale price — 6% — relative to the same time last year, according to the Realtors Association of York and Adams Counties.

RAYAC President Elle Halle said the biggest factor is rising interest rates.

"Mortgage rates increasing might be contributing to some buyers' hesitancy at purchasing right now, which could also explain what looks to be a slowdown in the market," Hale said. 

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The decline of existing-home sales can be felt nationwide, too.

Home sales fell in June by 5.4%, according to statistics provided by the National Association of Realtors. July's figures had not been released as of Tuesday. 

"As interest rates have risen over 5% and home sale prices continue to escalate, our concern is housing affordability," Hale said. "If they were looking to buy a $250,000 house at 4% for now, they may have to buy a $200,000 house at 5% to make the payment feasible."

A home for sale on Stanton Street in West York, Monday, Aug. 15, 2022. Dawn J. Sagert photo

During the first seven months of 2022, York County housing sales overall declined by 4% when compared to the same period last year, according to RAYAC statistics. 

And, according to early predictions, the median home sale price will continue to increase in York County — and nationwide — through 2023.

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“Although rates continue to fluctuate, recent data suggest that the housing market is stabilizing as it transitions from the surge of activity during the pandemic to a more balanced market,” Freddie Mac chief economist Sam Khater told The Associated Press. “The consequence is that house prices likely will continue to rise, but at a slower pace, for the rest of the summer.”

According to the National Association of Realtors, the median home price jumped 13.4% in June from a year earlier, to $416,000. That’s an all-time high according to data going back to 1999.

A home for sale on Stanton Street in West York, Monday, Aug. 15, 2022. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Affordability has become a major point of concern for real estate agents, as the combination of increased interest rates, home prices and application fees are hitting York County residents like a brick.

According to Freddie Mac, the national average for the interest rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage is currently 5.2%. That's up from 2.9% a year ago.

What does that mean for the average home buyer?

On a $416,000 home, that would translate to paying $442 more each month in mortgage payments.

Although the market has slowed, Hale said homes are still selling.

"The market remains robust," she said. "Homes are still selling. We are entering the beginning of the school year, so things might slow down a bit because of that."

— Reach Tina Locurto at tlocurto@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.