Though home values are still falling in York County, the declines are getting smaller. And that's good news, according to an economist and local Realtor.

The average sale price on a house is down 2 percent in the areas surround York, Lancaster and Harrisburg, said Kurt Rankin, assistant vice president and economist for the PNC Financial Services Group.

But he expects those prices will start climbing next year, he said.

"Prices will bottom out during the first quarter into the second quarter, then it will take two quarters to adjust. In late 2013 to 2014, we'll see home prices rise and home building start to pick up," Rankin said.

The area is already doing fairly well, according to John LeCates, president of the Realtors Association of York & Adams Counties.

Construction is strong in the Jackson Heights neighborhood of Spring Grove, and home sales were up 8 percent during the first 10 months of the year, he said.

"In March, April and May, I think we'll see a slight increase in home values," LeCates said. Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors, said prices will rise 15 percent during the next three years.

A pent-up demand will also help those prices increase, LeCates said.

"There are a lot of younger Americans and families who have been living together during the downturn, and they're going to be ready to get out and buy," he said.

But that doesn't mean LeCates doesn't have concerns.

"The (housing market recovery) is only possible if something doesn't hurt the economy.


Going over the fiscal cliff could send us into a tailspin," he said. "We've worked hard the last few years to get it back, and I don't want to see it all go down the drain."

- Candy Woodall can also be reached at