Home prices across Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware continue to climb

Realtors across the tri-state region say homebuyer demand remains strong despite a steady hike in the cost to purchase a home, recent housing data shows.

A for sale sign is visible on a street in Fishtown, Philadelphia.

File photo: A residential property for sale on Tulip Street in Philadelphia’s Fishtown neighborhood. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Buyers should expect to pay a bit more for the same house as interest rates and the median sale price for single family homes across Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware continue to climb.

“The house you could buy this time last year is different than the house you could buy this year. So that’s been a factor,” said Al Perry, president of the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors, about sluggish sales data. “The property that you’re looking for today might not be in the same neighborhood, might not have the same bells and whistles. Demand remains strong.”

For example, the median sale price for a single family home in Pennsylvania was $210,453 last month, up from $205,000 in April 2022. The average 30-year fixed mortgage interest rate was 6.93% in April, compared to 5.42% last year. In New Jersey, a single family home was sold for $467,000, up from $460,000 last year. In Delaware, the median sale price was $363,818, up from $357,430 in April 2022. The median home sale price nationwide was $388,800, down 1.7% compared to a year ago.

Home listing prices have increased in some counties surrounding Philadelphia by double digits, according to Realtor.com data. In Berks County, the median list price of a single family home was $310,000, an increase of 19.2% compared to April 2022. Likewise, the median list price was $549,000 in Montgomery County, an increase of 15.6%.

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Demand for suburban homes has “blossomed” as hybrid and remote work remains popular, Perry said.

“People are willing to go a little further from their job than they have in the past,” he said. “You see some of our areas a little further from the jobs that continue to grow since the pandemic.”

There’s also fewer new homes on the market to buy compared to a year ago across the tri-state area.

New home listings across Pennsylvania were down nearly 20% compared to last April, 35,458 down from 44,087, according to the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors data. There were 6,444 new home listings, down from 9,600 in April 2022 — a decline of 32 percent over the year — New Jersey Realtors data shows. Likewise, there were 1,415 new home listings across Delaware, down from 1,771 in April 2022, according to the Delaware Association of Realtors Data.

Perry said there’s fewer homes on the market because buyers who are locked in under a lower interest rate aren’t moving, not as many homes are being built, and there’s even a trend of multiple generations sharing the same residence.

“We’re not seeing people turning over their real estate as often as they happened in the past,” Perry said.

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Across Pennsylvania, there were 9,087 units sold last month, down from 12,116 in April 2022, data shows — a decline of 25%. In New Jersey, 4,154 single family homes were sold statewide, down from 5,942 in April 2022. In Delaware, 1,022 homes were sold, compared to 1,434 last April. Nationwide, home sales dropped 23% compared to April 2022.

There is about 3 months of home inventory on the market across Pennsylvania, which means it’s considered a seller’s market; 6 months of inventory is a balanced market and more would mean a buyer’s market.

In Delaware, the market is even tighter. The average months of inventory available on the market is 2 months, a slight increase from 1.5 months last year.

“We’re seeing a little bit more inventory come on the market, which is good because it’s given buyers more homes to choose from, which means less competition when trying to purchase,” said Chrissy Steele, president of the Delaware Association of Realtors.

In general, home sales in April were likely closed between 45 and 60 days before. So the April report is indicative of buyer activity in February and March, she said.

Either way there’s “an extreme shortage” of available homes in Delaware, she said. There’s a state and county tax based on the sales price of the home that’s tacked on which increases the cost for home buyers.

“It’s huge,” she said. “For a first time home buyer, you add that on to their down payment…on to the cost of their loan.”

In New Jersey, the average months of inventory available on the market is 2.4 months, flat from a year ago.

Gloria Monks, president-elect of New Jersey Realtors, said that bidding wars are common and homes are often sold for more than the asking price because there’s fewer homes on the market.

“We are still seeing an increase in housing pricing,” Monks said. “The inventory is still way down. Our listings are down. Our closed sales are down. And that’s all due to the lack of inventory.”

But don’t expect more homes to come on the market anytime soon.

“I think there’s just a lot of people right now staying put waiting to see what happens,” she said.

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