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Home sales agreements in W.Pa. rose 10.1 percent in 2012

| Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013, 10:50 a.m.

A double-digit increase in pending home sales in 2012 shows Western Pennsylvania's housing market had a strong year, West Penn Multi-List Inc. said on Thursday.

Figures from the region's largest listing agency showed a 10.1 percent jump in houses placed under sales agreement last year to 36,708, compared to 33,338 in 2011. Closings on pending sales agreements usually occur one to two months later; most but not all are completed.

Multi-List covers a 12-county region and includes transactions handled by its member agents.

The last double-digit increase was in 2002, said George Hackett, Multi-List president and president of Coldwell Banker Real Estate Services in Pittsburgh.

“Now that the housing market is gaining strength on a national level, we anticipate our local market to continue to make gains, too,” he said.

Market improvement was illustrated by a decline in the average number of days houses were on the market, falling to 93 days last year from 100 days the previous year, the report said.

Multi-List reported the average sale price last year was $165,977, up 6.15 percent from $156,345 in 2011.

New listings showed an improvement during the year at 36,381, a 1.4 percent increase from 35,883 the year before. Real estate agents said last year that the market had been hindered by lower inventories of homes for sale.

In December, there was a 10.3 percent increase in pending sales to 2,321, compared to 2,104 in the same month in 2011. The average sales price rose 10.6 percent, to $165,482 from $149,579, the report said.

Houses were on the market in December an average of 71 days, a 26.8 percent improvement over 97 days for that month in 2011.

In December, the number of new houses listed for sale was 1,561, a 1.7 percent increase over 1,535 a year earlier.

Multi-List agents cover Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Washington, Westmoreland, Fayette, Greene, Clarion, Lawrence, Mercer and Somerset counties.

Sam Spatter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7843 or sspatter@tribweb.com.

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