Harrisburg area home sales drop by half in May


HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Real estate has been one of the hardest-hit industries during the pandemic.

It’s only been a few weeks since realtors have been able to show houses in person, but home sales in Dauphin, Perry, and Cumberland counties fell by about half last month. This particular downturn is compared to this time last year.

The median sale price, however, has gone up. There’s been a supply shortage for the last 18 months, with not enough houses to buy, a problem which the pandemic exacerbated.

“Typically in a healthy market, we do see double. We do see over 2,000 homes generally on the market and I believe we’re below 1,000 homes currently in our geographic market,” said Adrian Smith, vice president of Greater Harrisburg Association of Realtors.

State restrictions made it tougher to do business.

“We had to talk to a lot of people over the phone, hopefully, do a video tour that was provided by the homeowner, so there were certain creative ways to get around that, but overall it was a stark departure from what the spring market typically looks like,” said Edwin Tichenor, principal at Turn Key Realty.

Smith said showings were down 95% during the peak of the pandemic, but are now up more than 50%. He expects to see more people placing their homes on the market.

“If you’re going to sell, there’s no better time. I mean we’re getting multiple offers, situations, on almost every new home that pops up on the market, four or five offers,” Smith said.

Smith said for buyers, interest rates are low and purchasing power is great. They just need to be patient and come in with a strong offer.

“We have got a great industry, government industry, warehousing, supply industry, so I’m confident we’ll continue to be a stable market for future generations to come,” Smith said.

Smith said realtors are taking needed safety precautions, but he still expects more virtual tours and open houses.

Despite the pandemic, he says people still want interaction with realtors.

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