The real estate market in the Lehigh Valley looks to be improving, according to recent reports.
Thousands of homeowners across the country panicked when home values bottomed out in 2007.
According to Ryan Conrad, chief executive officer of the Lehigh Valley Association of Realtors, the median price of a home in the area was $215,000 in 2007.
The average dropped to $150,000 in 2012, but since then, Conrad said prices have grown steadily for about 25 months.
The median price is now $180,000, according to Conrad, who said the growth is promising.
"A more healthy and stable real estate market recovery," said Conrad, who attributes the improvement to low interest rates and to shrinking inventory resulting in higher demand.
"Our inventory, despite it's still big, it's shrinking. Shrinking inventory is driving up demand, which in turn is driving up the median sales price. We're seeing increased activity in the real estate market, multiple offers and homes selling quicker," Conrad said.
But according to CoreLogic, a real estate data firm, prices in the valley grew by 7.9 percent in February of this year compared to this time last year. That's less than the national average of 12.2 percent.
Conrad said the rest of the country had more catching up to do.
"We also didn't experience the same level of drop in sales prices that the national averages are showing," Conrad said.
Conrad said factors that may hinder even higher growth rates include access to credit and an unstable job market.
Conrad said the market is more stable now than it was several years ago.
Will prices rebound to where they were in 2007? Conrad said it depends.
"Now we're in more of an equilibrium, which is causing more stable growth. We don't expect a skyrocket in growth as we did in the mid 2000s. But this is better for the economy," Conrad said.
Conrad said homes are also selling quicker, another good sign for the local real estate market.
In addition, Conrad said foreclosures are down.