Slightly Tight Housing Markets as Economic Activity Resumes in the Harrisburg HMA
The Harrisburg-Carlisle Pennsylvania Housing Market Area (Harrisburg HMA) is situated on the Susquehanna River in the southeastern quadrant of Pennsylvania. The Harrisburg HMA includes the counties of Cumberland, Dauphin, and Perry, and has an estimated population of 582,800. Harrisburg is the state capital of Pennsylvania. A recent Comprehensive Housing Market Analysis highlighted the economic and housing market activity in the area.
Employment expected to recover as the economy opens up
In 2020, nonfarm payrolls declined by 4.3 percent in the Harrisburg HMA due to the measures taken to stop the spread of COVID-19. During the period, the average unemployment rate was 7.7 percent, as job losses occurred in nearly every sector except transportation and utilities, which added 300 jobs for an increase of 1 percent. As elsewhere in the nation, job loss was most acute in the leisure and hospitality sector, in which employment declined 18 percent in 2020 for a loss of 5,900 jobs. Employment is expected to recover as the area economy opens back up for business.
The education and health sector is the largest employment sector, accounting for 18 percent of payrolls in the Harrisburg HMA. The sector includes 3 of the 10 largest employers in the HMA, including the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, which employs 11,442 people. In 2020, employment in this sector declined by 1.8 percent or 1,100 jobs. The government sector is the second largest sector making up 17 percent of area payrolls. In 2020, employment in the government sector declined by 2.2 percent or 1,700 jobs.
During the next 3 years, nonfarm payrolls are expected to increase by 0.9 percent annually in the HMA.
Slightly tight rental and sales markets
Home sales conditions are slightly tight, with an estimated vacancy rate of 1.1 percent. In 2020, total home sales declined by 10 percent relative to 2019 for a total of 8,525 homes sold. The average home sales price increased by 5 percent from 2019 to 2020. The homeownership rate is 67.8 percent in the Harrisburg HMA, which is higher than the national homeownership rate of 65.6 percent.
Rental market conditions in the HMA are currently slightly tight, with an estimated vacancy rate of 4.7 percent. Historically high apartment construction in 2018–19 helped ease the tight rental market conditions in the HMA.
Over the next 3 years, demand is estimated for 3,425 new homes and 1,975 rental units. For more detailed information, see the recent Comprehensive Housing Market Analysis on the Harrisburg HMA.