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With mortgage rates at historic lows, housing demand is up in York County

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Housing inventory remained down in York County for the month of February — following a trend for at least three years — but low interest rates are boosting potential sales.

The Realtors Association of York & Adams Counties released last month's report on Tuesday, showing growth in both home sales and median sale prices — a 3% increase from last year for the period of January to February.

Twenty-one more homes were sold, for a total of 746, and the median sale price increased from $170,000 to $175,000.

Home sales increased 8% in February alone compared with the same month last year — with 29 more sold — and the median sale price for the month increased 3% to $174,900.

“The first two months of 2020 are off to an incredible start for the real estate market," RAYAC President Sue Pindle stated in her report. "The 30-year mortgage rate being at historic lows is increasing buyer demand." 

Though rates picked up a bit Tuesday, she said when reached the next day, they are still the lowest she's seen in about 34 years.

The average interest 30-year fixed rate mortgage is 3.606% as of Wednesday, according to NerdWallet.  

More:Report: York County housing market ticks down to start 2020

The Federal Reserve slashed interest rates three times in the past year, based on slowing global demand and trade war uncertainty. President Donald Trump has also been pushing for more cuts to boost the economy ahead of the 2020 election.

Yet the housing inventory shortage continues, and now it is at the lowest levels the county has ever seen — just over a two-month supply, according to the report. 

That does not mean there would be no homes for sale in that time, Pindle said. Not all homes are in the preferred location or condition for buyers, who don't want to deal with fixes.

And though there's a lot of new construction, it's more expensive for buyers who have to pay transfer taxes, which add an extra $2,000 to $4,000, she said.

Ten school districts saw increases in median sale prices since January 2020 — the largest being an increase of 37% in South Eastern, 29% in Southern York County and 24% in Northeastern York. No districts saw significant drops in prices.

More:'Historic year' for York County real estate in 2019

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At the district level from January to February, compared with that period last year, York City saw a 42% increase in home sales, or 20 more homes sold.

The biggest drop came from Dallastown Area at 35% — with 32 fewer homes sold.

Home sales saw a much bigger increase from February 2020 compared with February 2019. The highest percentage increase came from Northern York County at 89%, but that only equates to eight more homes, since only nine homes were sold last February.

The district with the biggest decrease in number of homes sold in February was Dallastown, which dropped 44% — with 20 fewer homes sold.

The most significant change in February median sale prices came from South Eastern — increasing 45% from $182,500 to $265,250.