The region’s real estate market in February tumbled compared to the same time in 2013, but many who keep track of the market say a lot of that dip had to do with the weather.
“Look at what we experienced last year in early spring, great weather, everybody was out and about,” said Barbara Kohl, West Penn Multi-List Chief Operating Officer. “This year it was total devastation, freezing rain, sleet, tons of snow. It’s really tough to get people motivated and moving to go out to open houses, and even look at homes, when the weather is so bad.”
Residential homes placed under agreement in the 13-county region surrounding Pittsburgh fell nearly 4 percent from 2,841 in February 2013 to 2,729 in February of 2014. While the weather might have been a factor in the difference in sales between 2013 and 2014, sales in 2013 were actually down by 3.5 percent from 2012 (2,946), and up from the 2,193 sold in 2011.
West Penn Multi-List reports the number new listings fell 12.5 percent from February of last year to February of this year.
“We are in dire need of listings,” Kohl said. “We have a lot of buyers, we do not have enough houses to sell.”
West Penn Multi-List saw a similar drop in listings in January compared to the year before.
Kohl said tighter controls over who is approved for loans has also put a dent in the market. She said anecdotally they are seeing more would-be buyers turned away at the closing because their loan falls through.
But Kohl is optimistic that “everything will be okay.”
“I went out this weekend… and saw an influx of people at open houses,” Kohl said. “I think we are going to see this as long as we don’t get another deluge of snow in March.
West Penn Multi List tracks home sales in Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Washington, Westmoreland, Fayette, Greene, Clarion, Lawrence, Mercer, Somerset and Indiana Counties.