Looking to buy or sell a home? There is mixed news about the local housing market, according to new figures from the Lehigh Valley Association of Realtors.
If you're trying to sell, there are signs the local market is improving -- if you're willing to be patient.
If you're on the other end though, you're in luck. It continues to be a buyer's market.
Mark Toro's new place in Salisbury Twp., Lehigh County, needs a little work. "Without a doubt, a fixer-upper," he said.
But at $150,000 for three bedrooms, Toro said, "This house was a steal."
Toro is not alone. It's still a buyer's market, according to the latest sales report from the LVAR. Why? The number and variety of homes for sale are way up, while sale prices and mortgage rates remain low.
"If you're looking for that major purchase, now would be the time," said Toro.
For sellers, there are signs of light at the end of the tunnel. December pending home sales were up a whopping 31 percent over the same time a year ago. Realtors say it's a sign more people are shopping around.
"That's great news for those that are selling their homes because it means people are buying," said Ryan Conrad, CEO of the Lehigh Valley Association of Realtors.
Now the bad news.
Median sale prices were down more than seven percent between December 2010 and last month. Also, homes now stay on the market 21 days longer than last year. The average house now takes more than three months to sell in the Lehigh Valley.
"Five or six years ago, when homes were on the market for only a few days before they sold, it was very competitive," said Conrad. "People were asking for more than the offering price."
Toro is glad to be on the winning side of that equation.
"A couple of years ago, before the bubble burst, it was a great time for the seller," he said. "Now is, without a doubt, the best time for the buyer."
So where are the buyers? The most pending home sales are in Bethlehem, but the highest prices are in the Southern Lehigh School District.