The housing market made up for the rocky start for the Western Pennsylvania region in 2014, according to a year-end report.
West-Penn Multi-List, Inc. says the 13-county area’s home sale prices from January-December 2014 increased by 3 percent ($5,093) from the same period in 2013. New listings also increased by 1.5 percent (570 listings) this past year.
“2014 started down significantly the first four months of last year because of winter and [the] polar vortex, and some of the mortgage issues,” said President of West Penn, Tom Hosack, “so it has kind of progressively gotten better through 2014 to get back to just about the same.”
Modest change is a good thing, according to Hosack, who said these numbers show stability and a balanced market for both buyers and sellers.
Homes placed under agreement for 2014 decreased by about 3 percent from 2013. Although fewer homes were purchased they sold about 3 days more quickly than in 2013. This shows that in 2014 there was a higher demand for houses than the number of houses available.
Compared to December 2013 homes placed under agreement increased by about 12 percent (269 homes) last month, and the average days on the market decreased to 77 days, compared to 81 days in 2013. Average home sale value is also up from December 2013 ($158,935) by about 12 percent in December 2014 ($177,982). These numbers make 2015 look promising.
“2015 is going to be a great time to buy while interest rates are still low. Everybody expects that probably sometime this year we will start to see interest rates go up, and that probably affects affordability more than anything else,” said Hosack, “so if anyone is thinking about moving, this is really the time to be doing it.”
President Obama signed an executive order on Jan. 7 to cut annual mortgage insurance premiums by 50 basis points to .85 percent, and Hosack believes this will also give people incentive to buy and sell.