New home closings declined year-over-year in December in the Lancaster, PA market, swinging downward off a year-over-year rise in November 2015. There was a 15.6% drop in new home closings from a year earlier. This followed a 8.3% jump year-over-year in November.

A total of 512 new homes were sold during the 12 months that ended in December, down from 522 for the year that ended in November.

Out of all housing closings, new home closings made up 9.5%. A year ago, new home closings made up 10.3%. Following a year-over-year rise in November, closings of new and existing homes dropped year-over-year in December.

Pricing and Mortgage Trends

Average price of newly sold homes saw a 12.0% surge year-over-year in December to $310,159 per unit. This boost is an improvement over the 3.2% gain in November year-over-year.

For newly sold homes, the average mortgage size saw a boost year-over-year along with new home prices. In December 2015, the average mortgage size on newly sold homes saw a 2.5% bump from a year earlier. In November 2015, average mortgage size jumped 8.1% from a year earlier.

Other Market Trends

The percentage of new home closings belonging to single-family homes has risen from last year while the portion of new home closings belonging to attached units has dropped. Single-family home closings gained from 67.2% of new closings in December 2014 to 79.6% of closings in December 2015. Meanwhile, attached units as a percentage of all new home closings slid to 20.4% of closings from 32.8% of closings.

There was a 16.0% decline year-over-year in the average unit size of newly sold homes to 1,722 square feet in December 2015. For newly sold homes, an average size decline contrasting with an average price lift was also seen in November 2015 when the average size of newly sold homes fell 10.5% to 2,086 square feet. In November, the average size of new homes sold went from 2,332 square feet a year earlier to 2,086 square feet.

Foreclosures and real estate owned (REO) closings increased in December from a year earlier and did not appear to be dragging the market. Foreclosures and REO closings, taken together, made up 10.5% of existing home closings, higher than 10.1% a year earlier. The percentage of existing home closings involving foreclosures slid to 1.4% in December from 2.9% a year earlier while REO closings as a percentage of existing home closings jumped to 9.2% from 7.2%.

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