Archive for February, 2009

Wallingford PA SEPTA R3 Regional Rail Station

February 22, 2009

Wallingford PA R3 Regional Rail StationWelcome to the Wallingford Station on SEPTA‘s R3 Regional Rail Line connecting Center City Philadelphia Pennsylvania with Media/Elwyn in Delaware County.

This  is the only R3 Regional Rail stop in Nether Providence and is one stop west of Swarthmore and the second stop east of Media. It is a great location for suburban commuters in the area with easy drop off/pick up access.

The stop itself is located in a largely residential area just east of Providence Rd/Route 252.  Route 252 is one of the major north-south routes in the county beginning in Nether Providence and continuing through Newtown Square up towards Paoli in Chester County.  There is adjacent parking but this is a popular stop with relatively limited parking so this is a better drop off location for local commuters.  South Media is just to the northwest, Furness Park is to northeast, Wallingford Elementary School is just to the south, and the Wallingford Township Office is southeast.  For a better feel, take a quick look at the video:

The prices for real estate in Nether Providence have held up fairly well.  After rising from an average sales price of $286,000 in 2005 to $326,000 in 2006, prices have been settling downward to $320,000 in 2007, $311,00 in 2008, and $307,000 over the last six months.  This is much better than many areas in Delaware County.   Activity has also dropped a bit from 198 homes sales in 2006 and 199 home sales in 2007 to only 163 sales in 2008 and 64 properties sold in the last six months.  There are currently an additional 14 properties under contract at an average list price of $341,000 and 97 properties on the market for an average list price of $391,000.

As always, should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

(All statistics from the TrendMLS System and believed accurate but not guaranteed.)

Darby Borough PA – Settlement in the Foundation

February 20, 2009

Darby Borough has been one of the most stable real estate locations in Suburban Philadelphia and Delaware County.  It is also one of the least expensive areas often appealing to a wide variety of home buyers as well as to investors looking for solid investments.  With this steady demand and support, the prices in the area have remained almost flat for the last several years.

The Darby Free Library Needs Your Support!

Darby has a long history and has always seen demand for its housing due to its convenient location adjacent to Philadelphia and close to the Philadelphia International Airport.  Over the years though, its housing has not kept pace with some of the current trends.  Row homes remain the most common housing, but there has been a lack of new investment resulting in much new growth and development moving further west through the county.  This has worked out well with Darby being able to avoid the wide price variations seen in other Delaware County locations, and prices have remained remarkably stable until recently.

This stability may be coming to an end as prices seem to be settling quite rapidly.  In 2005, the average sales price was $61,000. In 2006, 2007, and 2008, the average sales price rose and stayed between $68,000 and $69,000.  Only in the last six months have we seen prices begin to pull back to an average price of $61,000.  In addition, the average list price of those homes currently under contract(13 homes) is only $54,000 anticipating a further decline in the average sales price.

Darby Borough PA Row Homes We have also seen a rather dramatic increase in the average days on the market (DOM) and corresponding decline in overall activity.  In 2005, there were 155 sales with the average DOM equal to 49, in 2006 there were 184 sales with 56 DOM, in 2007: 156 sales with 57 DOM, in 2008: 99 sales with 73 DOM, and the last six months saw 31 sales with 81 DOM.  Finally, today there are 78 homes still on the market with an average list price of $76,000 and 131 DOM.  Although activity has increased since the October stall, there is still potentially a years worth of inventory on the market.

Bottom Line: This could be a warning sign for Darby and the rest of Delaware County.  As higher end sales prices have drifted down over the last couple years, we have continued to see strong continuous demand supporting the bottom of the market and putting a floor under these prices.  Should this drop continue, we could experience another step down across the county.  The inability of this administration to generate any confidence in the financial markets is beginning to show up dramatically at the local level and could be a warning sign for additional problems ahead.

(All statistics from the TrendMLS system and believed accurate but not guaranteed.)

Gardening Resources in Suburban Philadelphia

February 18, 2009

Summer SkySpring is on its way and now is the time to plan and prepare for the new season. Whether it is for your garden, yard, or another property, there are many resources at your fingertips in Delaware County PA.  If you are considering a sale of your property this year, this is an incredibly important but often overlooked step in preparing your home.

The Delaware County Penn State Cooperative Extension offers many resources at no or minimal cost. The extension office is located off Paper Mill Road just east of the Blue Route at the Baltimore Pike exit in Springfield. The main office is in the original Lewis House but there is also an adjacent newer Environmental Center to the left of the parking lot.

The Delaware County office has adapted the traditional agricultural extension programs to serve the suburban/urban residents of the county. Their primary areas of focus include the 4-H/Youth Development Programs, Family Living & Child Care Professional Development, Home Horticulture & Urban Gardening, and Agrilculture/Commercial Horticulture Programs. “The Delaware County Penn State Cooperative Extension is dedicated to providing research based information to help individuals and families in solving everyday practices”.

Spring FlowersSome of the most useful information can be found through the Penn State Master Gardeners of Delaware County  program. If you have any questions, free home gardening advice is available through their volunteers. They are available in the extension office from 9-12 Tuesday and Thursday mornings during growing seasons and Tuesday mornings during the rest of the year and can be reached on their “Hort Line”: 610-690-2671 or email: In addition, they have their Home Gardeners’ School in April and a continuing series of Gardening Talks (next talk on March 14 on Hostas) on the second Saturday of each month for a small fee at the Environmental Center.

Another important program for kids is the 4-H Clubs. These include Agriculture Clubs, Veterinary Science Club, Horsemanship Classes, the Teen Council, and several additional programs. Some clubs are neighborhood or community centered groups but they also have access to the 4-H Farm and Educational Center at the Garrett Williamson Foundation on Bishop Hollow Road in Newtown Square.

You can also receive training and information through the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. In addition to their world class Garden Show, they have many additional programs throughout the city and region. Two that are applicable to Delaware County residents would be their Garden Tenders and Tree Tenders classes. The Garden Tender Courses are taught downtown, but the Tree Tenders hold classes in Philadelphia as well as the four adjacent counties.

There are additional resources available throughout Suburban Philadelphia from local schools, colleges, and retail businesses that you may also want to consider. To fully enjoy your property, prepare now and you can enjoy the fruits of your labors all summer long. If you are considering a move, this is one of the best things you can do to “stage” the exterior of your property in preparation to putting it on the market.

Lawrence Park PA Remains a Solid Choice

February 10, 2009

Lawrence Park Pennsylvania Split Level HomesSince development began in the 1950s, Lawrence Park has remained one of the most popular communities in Marple Township.  It is situated just east of Lawrence Road, north of Sproul Road, and west of the Blue Route, I-476.  Lawrence Park Shopping Center was built at the same time and still anchors the corner of Sproul and Lawrence Roads.  Just to the south lies Lawrence Park Industrial Park with a mix of commercial and light industrial businesses and further south is Cardinal O’Hara High School.  It is just minutes from the I-476 Marple Broomall exit providing easy commuter access throughout the region. 

The community was originally planned with approximately 1200 homes and was developed by Ralph Bodek – one of the leading developers in  suburban Philadelphia at the time.  Split level designs predominate but there are a variety of other floor plans available throughout the community.  In addition, there are condos and apartments adjacent to the single family homes affording a wide choice of housing for anyone moving into the area.  The development is also part of the Marple Newtown School District with the Wilmer F Loomis Elementary School conveniently located in the center of the community.  Next to the school is the Lawrence Park Baseball fields which are the home to the South Marple Little League.

Lawrence Park PennsylvaniaReal estate values have held up very well over the years and continue to be relatively stable even in this market.  As we have seen in most areas, prices for the single family homes here declined from an average price of $317,000 in 2007 to $302,000 in 2008 paralleling activity declines from 38 sales in 2007 to 20 in 2008 (in 2006 there were 31 sales at an average price of $310,000).  Today there are seven active homes on the market with an average list price of $350,000 and three pending sales with an average $294,000 list price.  This has been a very strong price range in Delaware County.

With its location just west of Philadelphia, Lawrence Park continues to be attractive for people looking for more space in a pleasant suburban location but still within easy access to all the region has to offer.  With this position, even in this economy, homes would be expected to hold their value relatively well as compared to other developments.

If you need any information or have any questions, please feel free to contact me anytime.

David Henke

(All information from TrendMLS is believed accurate but not guaranteed)

Folcroft Station PA SEPTA R2 Regional Rail

February 8, 2009

Amtrak Northeast Regional Passes Folcroft Station PA

Today we’re visiting the Folcroft Borough Station of the SEPTA R2 Regional Rail Line connecting Center City Philadelphia with Newark Delaware.

Folcroft is a great community incorporated in 1922 and conveniently located in southeastern Delaware County PA.  The station itself is located just east of the Primos Ave overpass (Primos Ave becomes Oak Lane as you travel further north).  It is the fifth stop west of 30th Street Station, with a 15 minute scheduled travel time.  The SEPTA R2 line actually parallels the main Amtrak Northeast Corridor rail lines from Center City through Newark DE, although Amtrak does not currently stop here.  The station also offers easy connections with several bus routes and offers parking and plenty of space for pick up or drop off passengers.

Immediately adjacent to the station there is a mix of single family homes, twins, and rows.  Primos Ave actually forms the border between Folcroft and Glenolden at this point.  Throughout the borough, row homes are the most common construction with the largest development being Delmar Village.  Like many areas in Delaware County and Suburban Philadelphia, prices have been drifting down for the last couple years.  The average sale price in 2007 was $129,000 which dropped to $118,000 in 2008, and to $92,000 so far this year.

Needless to say, activity has also taken a hit here recently due to the overall economy.  There are currently 40 homes listed as active on our MLS with 5 pending and 44 having been sold in the last six months.  The average price for those listed is $137,000 while those that have settled have averaged $116,000 (the 5 pending homes have an average price of $114,000).

With the economic stimulus bill that is now working its way through Congress, this area of Delaware County could be one of the first to benefit.  With its convenient location on the R2 Rail Line and being only minutes from the Philadelphia International Airport and I95 by car, it retains many advantages as a place to be called home in Pennsylvania.

As always, if you need anything, please do not hesitate to contact me anytime!

(All statistics from the TrendMLS system and believed correct but not guaranteed)

Short Sale Points to Remember

February 4, 2009

Yesterday, I had an opportunity to attend a great meeting with Michael Davis Esq of Davis Law in Wilmington DE concerning Navigating Short Sales**.

Winter at The Inn at Montchanin Village DelawareWith the current market conditions, we are continuing to see an increase in the number of short sales on the market.  If you are in that position or are considering buying or selling a property that may be a short sale, he noted several important points to consider:

-This is a long process – often 90+ days.  The banks will not be rushed or pressured but will follow their programs at their pace.
-Buyers must have the ability to wait for an undefined time period to obtain approval and settle.
-Sellers must be willing and motivated to supply all required information on a timely basis – this will often include information above and beyond that required to obtain the original loan.
-Sellers should consider paying up front for a title search and obtain independent representation from the beginning to aid throughout the transaction.
-If the property is a qualified principal residence, there is a good probability that debt could be forgiven under the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 but this is not always the case.
-If the property is investor owned, the 2007 law does not apply and your CPA should be contacted to assess your current position before you decide on a sale.
-The seller and the IRS will receive a 1099 from the sale regardless.
-The buyer and seller have a valid agreement of sale and the short sale is “just another contingency”.

Short sales are a tremendous opportunity to allow owners to move on while creating less damage to their credit than is possible under a foreclosure.  Buyers can also benefit by obtaining a new property at a savings over the full appraised value.  Every transaction is unique, but it is key that all parties have the appropriate expectations regarding timing, requirements, and procedure from the outset of the transaction.

To be sure that you understand and take full benefit of all the options available, I would encourage you to speak with a specialist like Davis Law from the beginning to be sure to avoid potential problems and not to miss any opportunities.

As always, if you have any questions or need any additional information, please do not hesitate to contact me anytime.

(**Note that a “short sale” is the sale of real property by the record owner to the buyer for a dollar amount that is less than the total dollar amount owed by the Owner to the Owner’s secured creditors.  The creditors are not parties to the sale but do possess the Veto power over the sale and the power to renegotiate all terms.)

Union Ave Foreclosure in Upper Darby Lansdowne

February 1, 2009

Almost every discussion we have today in real estate eventually turns to short sales and bank owned properties.  We’ve all heard the radio ads and the cocktail chatter of finding your dream home for $29.99 per month with no money down.  The reality can be quite different.  Yes – there are some great values out there but the low prices often simply reflect the condition.

Union Av Lansdowne Upper Darby PAAs in every market, the suburban market just west of Philadelphia PA does have its share of foreclosure listings.  The condition of these bank owned properties run the gamut from move-in condition to gutted shells.  To demonstrate the wide range of properties currently available (and the conditions found in these properties), I will be taking video of the interiors of some of the local foreclosures to provide you with a better feel for the market.  These homes have all been listed in our office with Danielle Mateu who has worked with several institutions for years in the foreclosure market throughout the Philadelphia region.

The first is Union Avenue in Lansdowne Pennsylvania (Upper Darby Township).  This property is a great twin listed for $84,900 with 4 bedrooms and 1 bath.  As with most bank owned property, this twin is being sold in as in condition and there are no utilities currently in the property.  Any potential buyer must be preapproved and/or have proof of funds before any offers will be presented.  Although not shown in the video, it does have a finished basement with a separate laundry area (since the utilities were off, it was too dark to shoot in the video).  The home has a nice open floor plan with hardwood floors throughout.  On the second floor, there are three bedrooms and a bath with a potential fourth bedroom in the finished third floor.  I think the rest can best be shown by the video (don’t worry, I’ll be more stable and efficient in the future):

As for the local real estate activity: looking at the immeditate surrounding areas in Lansdowne, Upper Darby, and East Lansdowne, there are 36 twins and row homes currently on the market with an average list price of $118,000.  There are an additional 5 properties currently pending (avg price $99,000), and 19 homes have settled since October 1 at an average list price of $96,000.  In all of 2008, using the same criteria, there were 62 sales in the area with an average settled price of $97,000 so the market in the immediate region has remained fairly stable and Union appears competitively priced.  These properties have run the spectrum from small row homes to large gracious Victorian twins.

So thank you for taking a look.  Next week, I’ll add a foreclosure in Tredyffrin Township currently listed for $649,900 to provide you with an upper end property for comparison.

As always, if you have any questions, need any additional information, or would like to view any of the homes, please do not hesitate to contact me anytime.