Thursday, May 25, 2017

Home Prices in Montco Are on the Rise

How much is your house worth?

That is a question every homeowner ultimately asks, only to find it answered when it goes onto the market.

But how much is everybody's house worth? Well, counter-intuitively, that is something that can be answered with greater certainty. At least if you are the Montgomery County Planning Commission.

Their annual report on the cost of housing was released recently and reviewed Wednesday night by the Pottstown Metropolitan Area Regional Planning Committee.

The short answer is -- "more."

According to Montgomery County planner Donna Fabry, the median sale price in the county rose by $8,150 in the last year -- an increase of about 3 percent.

Its the fifth increase in the last nine years, according to the study.

Market rate sales increased and reached its highest total since 2007 with 11,441 units sold and the median sale price being $278,500, according to county figures.

The median price for a new detached single home in Montgomery County increased by 11 percent to $499,990 and the median price on all new units of all types averaged out to $448,524 in 2016, a 14 percent rise over 2015, the report said.

This was due to more detached homes being built and single family attached home prices decreased by 3.9 percent to $336,875.

Among Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery Counties, Montco home prices increased the most in absolute dollars, while Delaware County homes increased by a higher percentage.

Within Montgomery County, New Hanover Township homes had the highest prices between $309,000 to 409,000, similar to Upper and Lower Providence, Collegeville, Skippack and Marlborough.

Pottstown, Lower Pottsgrove and West Pottsgrove had the lowest prices, ranging between $111,659 and $198,450. Upper Pottsgrove, Douglass and Limerick had slightly higher prices, ranging between $213,348 and $299,500.

Homeownership demand in the county has decreased, due to the increasing popularity of rental units "as many young people struggle to save money in the face of student debt, stagnant wages and the rising cost of living," according to the report.

The millenial generation is expected to turn to homeownership later in life than their parents did. The multi-family housing unit market has also turned away from townhouse toward luxury apartments "with amenities such as clubhouses, pools and dog runs," according to the report.

As a result, rents are being driven higher, with a 15 percent increase in Montgomery County from 2010 to 2015. The median rent rose from $1,057 per month to $1,214.

By contrast, the median home price over the same period rose by only 2 percent in Montgomery County, from $265,000 to $270,350.

"The demand for walkable town centers and mature suburbs with distinct neighborhoods served by multiple modes of transportation is expected to continue increasing," according to the report.

"In 2016, boroughs like Jenkintown, Ambler and Rockledge saw some of the highest percentage median price gains in the county," the report said.

Montgomery County Planner John Cover said "that trend bodes well for Pottstown," although he also acknowledged that "people move for jobs and schools with a good reputation," two areas where Pottstown does not often rise to the top of the list.

Many communities "saw growth not only in construction of new units, but in housing turnover. The increase in housing turnover is partially due demographic in nature due to the generational transfer of housing from baby boomers to millenials," according to the report.

Not much else of interest at the planning meeting. What was interesting can be found in the Tweets below.

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