The past few years in real estate have been unpredictable. Between high foreclosures one year to low inventory in some major markets the next, it’s hard to tell where the market is going to go.

This year, we've found a few constants that everyone can agree upon for 2014. A few might surprise you! If you’re looking to buy a second home or buy a first one without it turning into a bidding war, 2014 may be your year.

1. Dodd-Frank Lending Changes

If you’re looking to get a mortgage in 2014, watch out. The lending changes in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act took effect on January 10. As an effort to prevent future housing meltdowns, they have some tight requirements for borrowers seeking what are now called “qualified mortgages.” One of the biggest changes is that lenders will be taking a closer looking at living expenses as well as your debt-to-income ratio, to make sure a borrower can make payments.

2. Expect Turnarounds

When it puts together its Turnaround Towns Report, crunches a lot of numbers, including nationwide median list prices in a variety of cities as well as the number of days properties for sale stay on the market. Based on this data, they’re frequently seeing signs of strength in areas that were previously hit hard by foreclosures or very high inventory.

3. Home Affordability will Decline

Home affordability isn’t just an issue in major markets like New York City and San Francisco, which are seeing median sales prices in the mid-to-upper six figures. The National Association of Realtors’ Home Affordability Index, which compares home prices with income, found that home affordability dropped to a five-year low in 2013 as increases in home prices outpaced income growth.

4. Don’t Count on Finding a Foreclosure

Fewer homeowners are losing their homes as the economy improves — and as lending rules tighten — so there aren’t as many foreclosure deals and short sales to be found.

5. It May be a Good Time to Buy a Second Home

The real estate market, particularly in places like Florida and Nevada, is seeing more inventory, but listing prices are well below the national average. This is ideal if you’ve always dreamed of having a vacation home but worried about affordability.

In Fort Lauderdale, for instance, prices have gone up 29 percent in the last year, but still remain below the national median list price. This means demand continues to be high, but sellers have not yet taken advantage of the increase in demand. Miami, Phoenix and Las Vegas are also showing similar trends. 

Read more about what's happening in real estate at LearnVest.

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When you are buying or selling property in today's Harrisburg PA real estate market, it's important to have confidence in your real estate professional. Don’s commitment as your Harrisburg PA REALTOR® is to provide you with the specialized real estate service you deserve.

When you are an informed buyer or seller, you'll make the best decisions for the most important purchase or sale in your lifetime. That's why Don’s goal is to keep you informed on trends in Harrisburg PA real estate. With property values continuing to rise, real estate is a sound investment for now and for the future.

As a local area expert with knowledge of Harrisburg PA area communities, Don’s objective is to work diligently to assist you in meeting your real estate goals.

If you are considering buying or selling a home or would just like to have additional information about real estate in your area, please don't hesitate to call me at (717) 657-8700, complete my online form, or e-mail me at