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How did the York County housing market do in 2022?

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch

Growing up in Dallastown, Wes Anderson and his wife were set on building the home of their dreams there.

The Andersons bought land in 2020 and met with builders about their new family home. What they learned caused them to rethink their plans.

"As we were tracking things down and talking to other people who are building, it was difficult to get things in time," Anderson said. "So sometimes you'd have to settle for different options. So we kind of walked away almost exactly a year ago today."

Initially, Anderson and has wife were worried about investing time and money into a house that wouldn't meet their expectations.

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The average housing market is tricky for many young families to navigate. Tack on higher interest rates, a lack of inventory and a higher cost of building supplies, and it's an entirely different battle.

The York County housing market has softened over the past year.

Sales in 2022 decreased by 12% when compared to the previous year, according to statistics provided by the Realtors Association of York and Adams Counties.

A home for sale on Country Road in Dover Township, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2023. Dawn J. Sagert photo

It's a staggering difference set against 2021's unprecedented growth, when mortgage rates floated near 3% and homes flew off the market as quickly as they were listed.

"I think first-time homebuyers were a little bit concerned about the increase of the interest rates, so it's been slower on that end," said RAYAC President Reid Weinbrom. "The average days on the market for York County are at nine days — so there is still a very strong demand. The problem is inventory."

Inventory has been a challenge for York County's housing market since before the COVID-19 pandemic.

And the problems have only worsened.

A home for sale on Carlisle Road in Dover Township, Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2023. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Supply-chain shortages and the increasing costs of supplies can especially put a strain on builders and families like the Andersons.

Weinbrom added that the increasing supply costs also affect a home's market value.

The median sales price in York County for 2022, for example, was $245,000, a 9% increase from $224,900 in 2021.

After giving up on building a house, the Andersons turned to Zillow and found their dream home.

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They paid about $7,000 above the asking price, Wes Anderson said.

"But all things considered, you know, I've heard people paying way above that," he said. "So we were OK with that."

The land they had purchased in 2020 was listed and sold with the help of a real estate agent, Anderson added.

Looking ahead at 2023, Weinbrom said he believes decreasing interest rates will encourage new buyers and families searching for their dream home this spring.

Interest rates on a 30-year fixed mortgage are at 6.48%, which is slightly higher than rates in December, according to the federal mortgage agency Freddie Mac.

A home buyer taking on a $175,000 mortgage — the median home value in York County — at the current 6.48% rate would pay about $1,104 each month on a 30-year fixed rate mortgage. When the rate was 5% earlier last year, that same mortgage would have had a monthly payment of about $939.

Weinbrom said he expects changes in the markets will cause more loans to be financed through the Federal Housing Administration and Veterans Affairs, both of which have looser financial requirements than mortgages obtained through private lenders. The government-backed loans often let borrowers have lower down payments and credit scores than conventional mortgages but also can require mortgage insurance payments.

"Hopefully it will change for the better, because we all should have good, affordable housing," he said.