In February, closings of new homes in the Lancaster, PA market rose year-over-year, and there were signs that the market may be improving as the percentage lift was better than January 2016. There was a 59.3% climb in new home closings from a year earlier. This was after the housing market saw a 24.2% rise year-over-year in January.

A total of 621 new homes were sold during the 12 months that ended in February, up from 605 for the year that ended in January.

As a percentage of overall housing closings, new home closings represented 10.6%. This marks a rise from 7.3% of total closings a year earlier. After dropping in January from a year earlier, closings of new and existing homes gained year-over-year in February.

Pricing and Mortgage Trends

The average value of newly sold homes moved to $301,945 in February 2016 from $304,837 in February 2015. This followed a 20.1% gain in January year-over-year.

The average mortgage size on newly sold homes dropped year-over-year in contrast to the average price of new homes. The average mortgage size declined to $234,309 in February, marking a 1.8% fall compared with last year. In January 2016, average mortgage size rose 29.2% from a year earlier.

Other Market Trends

There has not been much movement in the composition of the market with regard of the types of properties sold. From a year ago, single-family home closings have moved from 74.1% of new home closings to 74.4% of closings while attached units have gone from 25.9% of closings to 25.6% of closings.

There was a 30.1% drop year-over-year in the average unit size of newly sold homes to 1,540 square feet in February 2016. The average size of newly sold homes moved from 2,186 square feet in January 2015 to 3,446 square feet in January 2016.

Foreclosures and real estate owned (REO) closings continued to drop from a year earlier in February, but did not appear to be dragging the market. Combined, foreclosures plus REO closings made up 13.2% of existing home closings, below 14.9% a year earlier. The percentage of existing home closings involving foreclosures slid to 0.6% in February from 1.8% a year earlier and REO closings moved from 13.2% of existing home closings in February 2015 to 12.7% in February 2016.

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