‘Big boost’ for real estate: Housing market boiling in Cambria-Somerset area, report says | Local News

JOHNSTOWN, PA. – More people put residential properties up for sale in 2021 than the previous year, and buyers seized them, according to a housing market report from the Cambria Somerset Association of REALTORS.

New listings were up 25.9% in 2021 compared to 2020, while days on market and months of inventory saw steep declines of more than 40%, said Della Csehoski, CEO of the association.

The average residential listing price in December for Cambria and Somerset counties was $151,000, 16% higher than it was in December 2020, according to the association’s annual market report.

The median listing price for December 2021 of $110,000 was a 23% increase from the same month in 2020.

“It’s a big increase,” Csehoski said. “It’s a big boost in our region, and so far it’s holding up. How long? We do not know.

The Federal Reserve’s plans to raise interest rates in 2022 could stabilize demand nationwide, said Brent Ambrose, professor of real estate and director of the institute for real estate at Penn State Smeal College. of Business.

“The Federal Reserve has indicated that it will raise interest rates to counter inflation,” he said. “It would moderate house prices because it would make mortgages more expensive and regulate demand.”

“Demand in our market”

Ambrose said the trends seen in Cambria and Somerset counties are playing out nationally.

“We had the COVID crisis that sparked the move to work from home, which made people want to find more space in the suburbs or smaller markets,” he said.

“At the same time, we’ve had a huge amount of stimulus money poured into the economy, and the Federal Reserve has kept interest rates at historic lows, so affordable financing continues to drive demand. .”

The RE/MAX team, real estate broker Suzette Colvin said she expects to see an increase in mortgage rates this year.

“But there won’t be any big spikes,” she said. “We have been at historically low rates; it will be a natural progression, but it will not hinder demand in our market.

It’s a seller’s market.

In Cambria and Somerset counties, there were 44 new residential property listings in December, a 30% increase from December 2020, meaning more people listed properties for sale than they did. did so during this month last year, Csehoski said.

The Cambria-Somerset housing market report shows that monthly new listings for most months of 2021 exceeded 2020 figures.

‘Reasons Why People Sell’

However, the market is tight.

Colvin said potential buyers are late.

“When we list properties, they turn fast,” she said.

People selling homes include many people who are aiming to downsize, including retirees, Colvin said.

“Some people might be looking for rentals, or if they’re looking to retire, maybe they’re moving into a retirement community or they might be moving in with their kids,” she said.

“There are a lot of reasons why people sell.”

Where people are coming from to buy homes isn’t tracked by the realtors association’s data system, but real estate agents and economists say the pandemic has led to a wave of people moving to smaller markets.

April Eyler and her fiancé, Daniel Rozov, moved to Johnstown from New Jersey in February 2020.

Eyler, 28, got a job with Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania in Johnstown, and Rozov, 32, works for Hanging Gardens.

Options and ‘flexibility’ The couple first lived in a loft above the Vault Salon, 407 Main St. in downtown Johnstown, before closing a house on Luzerne Street last year.

“We loved the loft and the easy walk to downtown,” Eyler said. “When we started looking for a house, it was just an idea because we were paying too much in rent.”

Then the couple got a puppy and seriously decided to move into a house with a yard.

“It was easy to find a house,” she says. “We Googled and looked at a townhouse in Richland, but saw a duplex in Westmont.”

Although the couple had only visited the neighborhood once, they made an offer on the house within 30 seconds of entering, she said.

“There were three other offers on the table,” she said.

“We were lucky.”

Homes sold for almost 100% of the listing price each month last year, according to the Cambria Somerset Association report.

The RE/MAX, REALTORS team sold the couple their house.

This week, Colvin attended an economic forecast for 2022 presented by the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors. Forecasts indicated that places such as Johnstown could continue to see demand.

“Among the trends that were discussed, a lot of people are looking for outdoor spaces in quiet neighborhoods,” she said.

“People are turning to the suburbs and the flexibility of their work environment. I think that will continue in 2022.”

Russ O’Reilly is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter @RussellOReilly.

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