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Lehigh Valley is a Top Market for Homebuyers, Particularly for Millennials

By George Lewis on December 16, 2019

Lehigh Valley is one of the best markets in the country for homebuyers according to two recent research reports by realtor.com, the official website of the National Association of Realtors.

Lehigh Valley ranked among the top 10 markets for homebuyers between the ages of 18 and 35 in the Q3 2019 Generational Propensity Report. Rankings are based on factors such as household income by age bracket, median home sale prices, and mortgage interest rates.

Realtor.com said the top markets for millennial homebuyers tend to be mid-sized communities in the Northeast and Midwest, where job prospects are strong and housing prices are lower than in the regions’ largest metropolitan areas.

Among the 100 largest markets (by population), Lehigh Valley ranked 6th for millennial homebuyers in the quarter ended Sept. 30, 2019. During that three-month period, 51% of Lehigh Valley mortgages were taken out by homebuyers born between 1982 and 2000, realtor.com reported. That’s up from 44% in Q3 2018.

The 18-to-35 age group accounted for the largest number of mortgages and the greatest dollar value of mortgages in the United States in Q3 2019. That age group also makes up the largest segment of the labor force both in the region and across the country.

Lehigh Valley also was rated as the number-one market in the country for improved homebuying affordability in the last 12 months, according to realtor.com’s Q3 2019 Affordability Report.

The report analyzed home prices and availability to potential buyers of all income levels. Lehigh Valley’s affordability score improved by 0.14 since Sept. 30, 2018. That’s the biggest one-year improvement among the country’s 100 largest metropolitan areas. Based on the most recent Census Bureau population estimates, Lehigh Valley is the country’s 69th largest market.

The report also noted that 59% of the homes for sale in Lehigh Valley for the 12 months ended Sept. 30, 2019 were affordable to households earning the region’s median income, which is about $63,000. In that 12-month period, the share of homes for sale in Lehigh Valley that were affordable to households earning the median income increased by 9.3%.

LVEDC research has shown that housing is an important factor in attracting talent to a region, and the ability to attract and retain talent is the biggest issue facing employers.

As Lehigh Valley and other regions around the country compete to attract talent, particularly in the 18-to-35 age group, newly released data from the Census Bureau found that fewer than 10% of Americans moved in the 2018-2019 period. That’s the lowest rate since the government began tracking residence changes in 1947. A big reason for the drop-off is a decrease in mobility rates among the 18-to-35 age group, historically the most mobile segment of the population.

Lehigh Valley’s status as a top market for younger homebuyers can be a significant advantage in attracting the talent employers need at a time when talent is increasingly less willing to move.

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Lehigh ValleyQuick Facts

By the Numbers
$41.2 Billion

2018 Gross Domestic Product

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City Center Lehigh Valley
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10.6% of Labor Force
Employed in Manufacturing

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$3.8 Billion

Exports in 2019

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Air Products
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$65,119

Median Household Income

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PPL Electric Utilities
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672,907

Population

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Olympus
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358,000

Labor Force

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Lutron Electronics
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26.1% of Labor Force
Employed in "Eds & Meds" sectors

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5,073

Technology Patents

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Mack Trucks
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UGI
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NFI
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14% of the total community college degrees awarded in PA

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$7.3 Billion

Manufacturing Contribution to GDP

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BB&T
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69th largest metropolitan area in the U.S. by population

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Seedcopa
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10,754 degrees awarded by Lehigh Valley colleges (2017-18 academic year)

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Fuling
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85,000 employed in "Eds & Meds" sectors

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149,000

Population between ages 18 and 34

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