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Better January gives real estate agents hope for 2015

Like the snow, residential home sales in the Greater Lehigh Valley inched up 1.9 percent in January, with 17 more homes sold in 2015 than in January 2014. That modest growth complements the 4.2 percent growth comparing January 2013 to last January.

Like the snow, residential home sales in the Greater Lehigh Valley inched up 1.9 percent in January, with 17 more homes sold in 2015 than in January 2014. That modest growth complements the 4.2 percent growth comparing January 2013 to last January.

Statistics point toward that slow-but-steady progress to continue in the coming months as pending sales jumped 26.2 percent – from 1,020 in January 2014 to 1,287 last month – in the Greater Lehigh Valley.

“Overall, we are gearing up for a great 2015,” said Brad Patt, senior vice president of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach, near Allentown. “The activity year-to-date has been very strong.”

Pending sales in the Lehigh Valley soared more than 51 percent compared to last January, and the Poconos saw a 14.6 percent growth January over January.

“We had the best January we have had in the past five years,” said Tom Schatzman, broker at Country Squires Realty, East Stroudsburg. “We have a lot more activity.”

Activity has not converted to more sales this January in Berks County but has contributed to an 11.7 percent growth in pending sales compared to January 2014.

“We are selling more units today than we were a couple years back,” said Trent Stauffer, broker with Bold Realty, Reading. “It’s a very slow, steady growth but very slow. It does show some growth but not very much.”

Not very much means the market continues to move, even if at a slow pace, a trend industry professionals expect to stay.

“We are seeing buyers are motivated, very low interest rates that we are continuing to realize and reasonably good affordability for the consumer in this market,” Patt said. “It appears to be continued improvement in the overall economy as unemployment trickles down.”

Economic improvements have resulted in ongoing buyer activity and increased consumer confidence, factors that contribute to that motivation.

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