Lehigh Valley median home price is up 27 percent

Written by on March 3, 2021

Lehigh Valley median home price is up 27 percent

By Chloe Nouvelle

March 2, 2021

Image by Sephelonor from Pixabay

“For Sale” signs may be one of the most coveted lawn ornaments in the Lehigh Valley right now. The housing market is competitive. “SOLD” markers are going up fast. 

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But if a buyer is looking to homeownership to build wealth, experts say a lock and key may not always be the best financial investment.

Tim Tepes, president of Greater Lehigh Valley Realtors, says people house-hunting in Bethlehem, Bangor and even rural Carbon County are having trouble getting into a home. And the median price is up 27 percent. 

“As soon as something comes on the market, it’s usually under contract within the next day or two,” Tepes says. 

He also says high rents in the Valley are pushing people to buy.

“You can get a mortgage for less than what the rent is,” he says.

But for those looking to jump into the housing market, there are also costs, like repairs, interest, and fees to consider. 

“So on a $100,000 home, you can kind of expect, on average, to be paying $1,000 for maintenance costs and upkeep,” says Steven Swidler, an economics professor at Lafayette College. “Now, obviously, it’s not $1,000 every year but, you know, after 15 years, your heater blows out, or the gutters come down.”

Swidler cautions people looking to buy and turn a profit to consider other investment options before going “all in” on the housing market. 

“If you would have invested $1 in 1980 in the Allentown housing market, today that dollar would be worth about $4.10. On the other hand, over the same time period, that $1 invested in U.S. Treasury Bonds would now be worth $19.91, and $1 invested in the U.S stock market and the S&P 500, that’s now worth $74.72.

Swidler says there are still good financial reasons for some people to include real estate in their investment portfolios but it’s not necessarily for everyone. 

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