Lehigh Valley Planning Commission
LVPC releases 2010-2014 Housing Market Report
Ngozi Obi, Senior Community Planner
In December 2015, the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission (LVPC) released the 2010-2014 Housing Market Report. The report is the continuation of two previous reports, titled Home Buying During Economic Uncertainty: Housing Sales in the Lehigh Valley, PA 2008-2012 and Housing in the Lehigh Valley published by the LVPC in 2014 and 2009, respectively. In addition, the 2014 Regional Housing Plan, a comprehensive look at housing opportunities in the Lehigh Valley, had a portion revisited through the lens of housing sales in the report. The Housing Market Report provides valuable information for municipal staff, elected officials, housing professionals and the general public on housing sales.
Data on the number of total sales, sales by housing type and median sales price is provided at the region, county, municipal and school district levels for all five years. The report outlines the differences in housing types, evaluating housing sales for single family detached, attached, condominium, multifamily (2-4 units) and mobile homes (own lot) for all five years. Single family attached housing includes twins, townhomes and rowhomes, while condominiums can include detached and attached homes in that ownership structure. Single family detached and condominiums had the highest median sales prices across the period. Single family detached housing had significantly higher sales than all other housing types.
The following are new features included in the report:
• Information on the Lehigh Valley existing housing stock, with sales data by municipality and year.
• Images of actual housing sales at the low, median and high end.
• How the plan links to the LVPC’s Regional Housing Plan, in terms of overall affordability and the variety of housing sale prices in each
Housing affordability and housing sales price variety offer critical insight into the durability of the regional market. The housing affordability analysis provides information on the opportunity to purchase a home at various income levels, while the housing price variety index analysis gives a better understanding of the locations where there are a broad variety of home values. The report provides actual housing sales data to help evaluate whether there are opportunities to purchase a home at various income ranges. Utilizing information from the Regional Housing Plan, housing sales in the Lehigh Valley have been accounted for by the income ranges and corresponding maximum sales price. The income ranges were calculated as a percentage of $58,700, which was the Area Median Income for a 2–person household in 2012. Thus, this affordability assessment links various income levels in the region with the quantity of housing available to that income level, based on the categories of price points.
The housing sales price variety looks at sales based on five price categories linked to the Lehigh Valley median sales price. The median housing sales price in the Lehigh Valley across the span from 2010 to 2014 was $175,000. A housing sales price variety index was created by evaluating all municipal housing sales based on a percentage of the region’s median sales price for the five-year period. Five categories were created:
• Below 80% of Median Sales Price (Less than $140,000)
• 80% to 100% of Median Sales Price ($140,000 to $175,000)
• 101% to 125% of Median Sales Price ($176,750 to $218,750)
• 126% to 150% of Median Sales Price ($220,500 to $262,500)
• Greater than 150% of Median Sales Price (Over $262,500)
A municipality with high variety has sales distributed across all five categories in a proportional manner. Municipalities with low variety have an over-representation of sales in two or three of the five categories. The Lehigh Valley overall has a high variety in housing sales price. More detailed information on the analysis can be found in the Regional Housing Plan Linkages section of the report.
Some other notable findings are:
Nearly 45% of all housing sales from 2010-2014 occurred in 6 municipalities:
• Allentown (4,136)
• Bethlehem City (2,394)
• Lower Macungie (1,823)
• Palmer (1,157)
• South Whitehall (1,039)
• Whitehall (966)
The median sales price of five municipalities exceeded 150% of the Lehigh Valley median sales price for five consecutive years:
• Hanover (NC)
• Lower Nazareth
Across the five-year period, the Lehigh Valley’s median sales price was the lowest in 2012.
The median sales price of three school districts exceeded 125% of the Lehigh Valley median sales price for five consecutive years:
• Nazareth Area
• Southern Lehigh
The full report is available here: http://www.lvpc.org/…/2015/2010-2014_HousingMarketReport.pdf.
This report should appeal to a variety of audiences in municipal government, nonprofits, and private businesses affiliated in some way with real estate or the housing industry—particularly owner-occupied housing.
JOIN US! The LVPC will be hosting a lunchtime Policy + Pizza session explaining the details of the Housing Market Report to the general public on February 24th at noon at the LVPC office, where we will discuss the report findings and linkages to other documents, particularly the Regional Housing Plan.