The real estate sales activity for the Greater Harrisburg area containing the counties of Cumberland, Dauphin and Perry and segments of York, Lancaster and Lebanon Counties continued to stabilize and appears to be improving for the comparative periods of July 2008 versus July 2009. And although the average sales price for homes in the area declined by approximately 5% for the year over year comparison, there was a 3% increase in the average sales price in July 2009 when compared to June 2009 to an average of $198,409. As we all know, this is the primary selling and buying season for real estate and this has not deviated from previous years. That traditional high activity has been, in my opinion, fueled by buyers finding attractively priced homes, very competitive mortgage rates and the $8000 tax credit being offered by the Federal Government. Also contributing was a substantial increase in buyers using FHA and VA financing options (38% of all transactions in July 2009).

With respect to any extension of the first time homebuyer tax credit into 2010, the simple answer at this time is that there is no answer. There has been talk in Washington about extending or even expanding the credit to all buyers, not just first time buyers, but with all that is on the plate legislatively, including the budget and health care debates, I do not think anyone is going to guarantee the extension at this time.

Below are the average sales prices and days on market (DOM) for select municipalities on the East and West Shores in the Harrisburg area.

Average Sales Price July 2009
West Shore
Days on Market
Camp Hill
New Cumberland
East Pennsboro
Hampden Township
Silver Spring Township
Upper Allen Township
Lower Allen Township
Fairview Township
East Shore
Lower Paxton Township
Derry Township
Swatara Township
South Hanover Township
West Hanover Township


You can see that there are wide variances in average sales price and days on market from year to year. There are many explanations for these variances, but when reviewing previous comparative periods, I saw wide swings over a period of time that did not totally impact the overall trends. And, as I have been saying for a few months, that although the sales numbers and average sales price are down year over year, we are seeing a basing process that will lead to higher prices down the road. I cannot tell you when, but we can only be sure after we have hit the bottom and the same can be said of the lower mortgage interest rates. If you have any questions or need any additional information, please contact me at your convenience. And if you are considering a purchase of a home and want to inquire about prices and locations, please go to my web site and click on the search listings button and get current listing information.