New home sales continue to skim bottom, but at least they are not burrowing lower. New home sales posted at an annual rate of 295,000 units in August, which actually beat the consensus estimate for 288,000 units.

Pricing is the new and more troubling issue. Year-over-year, new home prices have been holding firm or improving in many markets. It appears that trend has reversed, at least at the national level. In August, the national median price fell 7.7 percent to $209,100, while the national average price dropped 8.5 percent to $246,000.

The supply of new homes remains low at a mere 162,000 units. However, supply relative to sales has risen to 6.6 months at the current sales pace compared to 6.5 months in July. To say the sledding has been tough for homebuilders over the past two years is to understate the obvious. Unfortunately, it appears the sledding won't get any less tough any time soon.

The sledding could also be getting a little tougher for existing home sales. The NAR reports that fewer buyers signed contracts to purchase existing homes in August, as the pending home sales index fell 1.2 percent to 88.6. We were encouraged by the spike in existing home sales in August, but we don't believe that spike will materialize into a sustained higher sales trend – at least for the near future.

This isn't to say we are down on housing. At least one supply concern appears to be improving – shadow inventory. CoreLogic reports that residential shadow inventory declined to 1.6 million units in July, which represents five months of supply at the current sales pace. The encouraging news here is that over 300,000 units have been removed from the market over the past year.

As for mortgage rates, the decline has also stopped, at least for now. In the past week, rates increased a few basis points across most offerings. Many economists pointed to Europe for a general rise in interest rates. It appears that Greece is moving farther away from defaulting on its debt.US Treasury securities have been a haven for many investors who fear the prospect of a Greek (and possible European Union) collapse. Over the past few weeks, volatility has been high in many of the maturities, including the influential 10-year Treasury note that has been bouncing around in a 30-basis point range. If the news in Europe continues to improve and if our own moribund economy starts showing new vigor, we can easily see that 30-point band shifting higher. Therefore, we advise locking to anyone unwilling to take risks for a few extra basis points.

Info courtesy of Jessica Regan.

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