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Pennsylvania Home Market Suffers from Snowy Winter

Pennsylvania’s housing market proved no exception to the national trend of sluggishness, the state’s Realtor group reported this week.

According to the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors (PAR), overall home sales in the state declined 6 percent in the first quarter compared to the same time in 2013. PAR’s data shows there were 24,250 closed sales in Q1.

Part of that slowdown might stem from inventory constraints, with new listings down 7 percent year-on-year.

Kim Skumanick, PAR president, attributed at least some of last quarter’s buyer/seller reluctance to adverse weather conditions.

“Across much of Pennsylvania, we experienced a harsher than normal winter,” Skumanick said. “I think with the warmer spring temperatures and favorable interest rates, we’ll see a renewed optimism in the real estate market.”

On the bright side, median sales prices in the state continued to march upward, rising an estimated 2 percent to $155,000.

With spring now here, PAR expects the market to refresh.

“We’re seeing positive trends in the national economy that should result in a healthy spring housing market,” Skumanick commented. “While interest rates are slightly higher than their all-time low, they remain attractive and affordable. Buying a home is still a great investment to help build long-term wealth.”

With housing supply struggling, PAR says the main thing to watch for this season is seller activity, as much of market’s supply will come from existing homeowners. The association says it is also monitoring investor activity and cash purchases, along with any increases in new construction.

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