Archive for June, 2009

Delaware County Summer Festival Now Underway

June 30, 2009

Well it’s here again.  Presented by the Delaware County Council, The Delaware County Summer Festival is well under way at the Rose Tree Amphitheater in Upper Providence Delaware County.

Blackthorn Plays Summer Festival June 28 Rose Tree Amphitheater

Blackthorn Plays the Rose Tree Summer Festival June 28 Rose Tree Amphitheater

Throughout the summer, beginning on June 10 and continuing till August 9, concerts are being held every Wednesday through Sunday (and also several Tuesdays) in the Rose Tree Park Amphitheater.  The concerts cover a wide range of styles and forms from 50 piece orchestras to musical puppet shows and Brazilian Jazz.

Crowds at Rose Tree Amphitheater Upper Providence PA

Crowds Enjoy the Rose Tree Amphitheater Concert Upper Providence PA

Most concerts begin at 7:30 PM and all are free.  Be sure to check the Complete 2009 Summer Festival for all the upcoming shows.

Check the schedule and be sure to enjoy some free concerts this summer!

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Upper Darby PA – Perfect For Today’s Market – Zip Code 19082

June 29, 2009

As a buyer or seller, if you are trying to take advantage of the $8000 First Time Home Buyer Tax credit, eastern Upper Darby TownshipBeverly Hills Upper Darby PA is one of the key areas in the county that you may want to keep your eyes on.  Sales activity has fallen but remains stronger than in most areas of the county.  Prices have also fallen, making this an excellent time to buy for buyers and a great opportunity to take advantage of the market if a seller.

In general, Upper Darby Township can be split into two areas by zip code: 19026/ Drexel Hill to the west and 19082/ Upper Darby to the east.  Zip Code 19082 generally extends from the Philadelphia City border to the east out to Lansdowne Avenue on the west.  Highland Park Upper Darby PA Zip 19082This area contains the commercial hub and SEPTA rail lines centered around the 69th Street Terminal.  The terminal itself is a major regional rail hub and acts as the main transfer point for the SEPTA 101 and 102 Trolleys, the Rt 100 High Speed Line to Norristown,  and the SEPTA Market-Frankford line coming from Downtown Philadelphia.  This is both a popular commuting station as well as a destination station for the local commercial activities.  This terminal also links to many area bus lines.

Zip 19082 / Upper Darby is also home to many well known residential communities such as Stonehurst, Bywood, Highland Park, and Beverly HillsStonehurst Upper Darby Pa Zip 19082This provides a great mix of housing options from smaller row homes, to twins, and larger single family homes.  There are also a few condominiums in the area.  All can take advantage of the great rail connections and the easy road links along State Rd, Lansdowne Avenue, West Chester Pike, and Township Line Road.  It is also a short trip directly down to the Philadelphia International Airport.

Real Estate pricing and actvity in zip code 19082 has mirrored what we have seen in the rest of the county but has seen a bit greater volatility.  Upper Darby Twin PA Zip 19082Sales activity peaked in 2005 when there were 683 residential sales in the zip code with an average overall sales price of $103,000 – the first year the average sales price had exceeded $100,000.

Pricing continued to rise to an average home sales price of $116,000 in 2006, $120,000 in 2007, and $118,000 in 2008.  Sales were declining during the same time period to 605 homes sold in 2006, 463 in 2007, and 285 in 2008.  So far in 2009, we have seen 121 sales at an average price of $94,000 – falling to a price range that we last saw in 2004.  Today, there are an additional 182 homes on the market listed for an average price of $125,000 and 58 homes are under contract with an average list price of $108,000.

Bywood Upper Darby Zip 19082With it’s great location, easy rail and road access, and immediate proximity to Philadelphia, the Main Line, and the Airport, this area of eastern Upper Darby should remain popular.  With an average price now less than $100,000, many first time home buyers will be able to take advantage of the historically low interest rates, good prices, and the $8000 credit to make purchases in the area.  As the year progresses, Upper Darby could be a prime beneficiary of any first time home buyer activity as buyers try to take advantage of the $8000 First Time Home Buyer Credit before the scheduled expiration on November 30.

If you need any additional information, need contacts for financing, or are thinking of a move in the area, please feel free to call me anytime.

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Philadelphia – The Miracle of 1955

June 27, 2009

If you love history or want some interesting background on the Philadelphia region, this video from fifty years ago provides some perspective.

I’ve wanted to do a video overview of the area to provide a good look at all that this region has to offer, but I really don’t think I could do anything to compare to this:

I would think that the video should have covered any questions that you may have had concerning the area, but should you need any additional information, please feel free to contact me anytime.

(Thanks to goleopards1 for posting this and imanacer for finding it.)

If you’ve ever had any question as to why you should be in Philadelphia, I think this video from 1955 says it all … and more.

As always, if you have any comments or information, please

Delaware County Council June Meeting at the 1724 Chester Courthouse

June 25, 2009

Tuesday night, the Delaware County Council held their June monthly meeting in the original 1724 Chester Courthouse located in downtown Chester PA.

1724 Chester Courthouse Chester PAThe 1724 Courthouse is the oldest continuously used public building in the United States.  Every year, several public functions are held in the original chambers to continue this long standing tradition.

The Council began the session with its regular business.  This was followed by a great presentation by Carol of the Delaware County Historical Society on some of the history of the Courthouse and of Chester’s development over the years.  Finally, the meeting wrapped up with time for the Council members’ comments and a public comment and question period.  After the meeting, the Delaware County Historical Society also held their museum and library open for those attending in the building located next door.

The video provides some abbreviated excerpts of the meeting:

All in all, an excellent meeting and a great way to experience some of the history of Chester.  The County Council hopes to hold two additional off-site meetings in the fall in two additional townships.

As always, if you are thinking of a move or have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me anytime.

Pilgrim Gardens Drexel Hill PA Home Market Update

June 23, 2009

Conveniently located just off Township Line Rd and covering sections in the westernmost section of Upper Darby Township and southernmost Haverford Township, Pilgrim Gardens is one of the most popular housing choices in the area.

Pilgrim Gardens Stone Homes Drexel Hill PADeveloped largely in the fifties, the community contains over 800 homes per the public tax records but the core of the area is just west of Route 1 between the intersections with State Rd to the south and Burmont Rd to the north.  The entire community is located in the Drexel Hill zip code 19026.  This location provides great access to the Main Line, the Blue Route/ I476, the Trolley, and the major commuter routes of Route 1/ Township Line Rd, West Chester Pike, and Rt 320/ Sproul Rd.

In addition, the commercial development around Loehmans Plaza provides great shopping, restaurant, and workout facilities within walking distance of much of the community, while Drexeline Shopping Center is just down Township Line Rd.  The community is also home to the Aronimink Swim Club, and at the base of Warrior Rd is Glendale Field, the old home of Haverford Youth Football.

On a relative basis, the real estate activity in Pilgrim Gardens has remained much more stable here than seen in many areas of the county.  Pricing has fluctuated within a 10% range since 2004.  Pilgrim Gardens Brick Homes Havertown PAPilgrim Gardens reached its highest average home price in 2006 at $281,000 but this was almost matched in 2008 when the pricing reached $280,000.  Pricing had risen from an average of $257,000 in 2004 to $270,000 in 2005, to $281,000, then back to $274,000 in 2007, up to $280,000 again, and finally to $259,000 in 2009 year to date.

Activity has also remained relatively stable.  In 2004, there were 14 listed home sales in the development.  This rose to 19 in 2005, back to 13 in 2006, 22 in 2007, 18 in 2008, and 6 in 2009 year to date.  There also an additional 3 homes under contract at an average price of $296,000.  At this list price level, we would expect to see the average price for 2009 to jump back up above the current $259,000 level to put it more in line with previous years – the sales rate should also end up within the range seen over the last five years.

With its great location, community amenities, and solid housing, Pilgrim Gardens should remain a top choice for people moving in the area.

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

Paper Mill Rd SEPTA 101 Trolley Stop Springfield PA

June 22, 2009

Located in Smedley Park, today we are taking a look at the Paper Mill Rd Trolley Stop.

Paper Mill Rd SEPTA 100 Trolley Crossing Springfield PAPaper Mill Rd is a local stop on the SEPTA Route 101 Trolley line running from the 69th Street Terminal out to State Street in Media.  It has frequent service 7 days a week and multiple stops throughout its line.  The Paper Mill Rd stop is located in Smedley Park adjacent to the I476/ Blue Route Corridor.  The stop is just one block north of Baltimore Pike at this point and Paper Mill Rd is the first intersection east of the Blue Route.

Smedley Park is a Delaware County Park that was named after the founder of the County’s Parks & Recreation Board: Samuel L Smedley.  The park contains approximately 120 acres of land and is located just north of Baltimore Pike and runs under the Blue Route.  The park contains various picnic facilities, athletic fields, and hiking paths.  It is also the home of the Penn State’s Cooperative Extension of Delaware County.

This is a local stop with no assigned commuter parking.  It is within walking distance of much of the park, but commuters would probably be better served through one of the adjacent stations that have assigned parking.  It is very convenient for park events and is within easy walking distance of the Cooperative Extension Office.

As always, if you have any questions or are thinking of a move, feel free to contact me anytime.

New Castle County DE Luxury Home Market Update

June 20, 2009

As we saw in Delaware County PA, New Castle County is also continuing to see a leisurely sales pace as we head into summer.

Centennial Luxury Greenville DEIn New Castle County DE, Luxury Home sales activity for those homes with a list price above $1,000,000 hit their peak in 2005 with 45 sales at an average price of $1,704,000.  Since then, as we have seen in many of the local areas, sales have been declining to 42 sales in 2006, 39 in 2007, and 28 in 2008.  Year-to-date in 2009, there have been eight settled home purchases with another 4 properties currently under contract.

As may be expected, pricing has been a bit more erratic with average pricing reaching $1,704,000 in 2005, dropping to $1,579,000 in 2006, rising to $1,703,000 in 2007, and dropping again to $1,409,000 in 2008.  New Castle County Luxury StatisticsPricing in this range is greatly impacted by the highest priced sales for any given year.  The high price also peaked in 2005 at $4,075,000 with the highest price being $2,548,000 in 2006, $3,926,000 in 2007, and $3,145,000 in 2008.

Today, there are an additional 56 homes currently on the market with an average list price of $1,809,000 and a top list price of $4,500,000.   There are also an additional 4 homes under contract at an average list price of $1,395,000 so it appears that in addition to the sales volume possibly coming in below 2008, the average prices could ease a bit further as well.  As we have noted before, the homes in this price range remain centered in the Greenville/Rt 52 corridor with scattered listings toward Newark and south of 95.

NC StrandBottom Line: Clearly with only 12 properties either sold or under contract in almost the first 6 months of the year and an additional 56 homes on the market at this time, this remains a challenging section of the market with rising average days on the market.  Buyers have the apparent edge and sellers must continue to watch the recently sold homes very carefully to be sure that they have not inadvertently priced themselves out of the market.  As we continue forward and have a better feel for the overall economy, this segment should begin to respond as confidence builds and financing continues to become more readily available.

As always, if you are thinking of a move or have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me anytime.

(All statistics are per the TrendMLS System and believed accurate but not guaranteed)

The Chester County Balloon Festival Celebrates its Third Year TODAY

June 19, 2009

Chester County Balloon Festival West Bradford Township PAWelcome to the 2009 Chester County Balloon Festival.

If you are looking for something special to do this weekend, the West Bradford Youth Athletics(WBYA) began their 2 day event this evening off Telegraph Rd in West Bradford Township.  All proceeds from the Chester County Balloon Festival will benefit the WBYA programs.

Sponsored by Suburban Propane, Chester County’s Brandywine Valley, and the West Bradford Youth Athletics, the Festival successfully kicked off Friday Night under perfect conditions with rides, 2009 Tethered Balloon Launch Chester County Balloon Festival PAvendors, and its Friday Night Glow Party.  The party itself  was a sell out, and there were plenty of vendors and additional viewing areas open to the public for a $5.00 parking donation.

The events will resume on Saturday morning, when there will be a 6:15AM morning group launch.  Then the Festival will pick up again as the gates open to the public at 3:00PM for Saturday’s activities.  There will plenty of craft vendors, moonbounces, tethered ballon rides, and food during the afternoon and the festival will remain open until dusk.  Weather permitting, there will also be a mass balloon launch between 5:30 and 6:30 pm.  This will then be followed by a Special Shapes Show between 6:30 and 7:30PM.

2009 Vendors at the Chester County Balloon Festival West Bradford PAIf you want something fun for the whole family, this is a great local event to sit back relax and enjoy the show and it is another great chance to take advantage of all this area has to offer.

Please take this opportunity to support West Bradford Youth Athletics.

As always, if you are thinking of a move or have any questions, please feel free to contact me anytime.

Thinking of a Move? – Check the Foreclosures and Sheriff Sales

June 18, 2009

You may want to take a glance at the local Sheriff Sales and bank activity before you begin your move.

Fence Line Delaware County PAIn this market, every buyer and seller is being impacted by foreclosures in the area.  Although Pennsylvania and Delaware in general and the Philadelphia area in particular have not seen the overwhelming volume of foreclosures seen in states like California or Florida, we continue to see a steady stream of foreclosure properties on the market.

As a potential seller this has various impacts.  If you are facing foreclosure, the sooner you speak to your bank, the more options you may have.  You may be able to work out alternative loan possibilities or you may be able to sell your property as a short sale to avoid the financial hit and repercussions of a foreclosure.  If you are a traditional seller, you must be aware of the foreclosure and bank-owned property pricing and activity in your area so that you do not inadvertently price yourself out of the market before you even get started – potentially costing you additional time and money in the long run.

As a potential buyer, there are multiple ways to approach this market.  Some people are focusing on pre-foreclosure properties as they feel they can obtain the best value through a short sale.  Others do not want the uncertainty and time commitment of a short sale and prefer to wait until the property goes to foreclosure to either purchase at a Sheriff Sale auction or when it is listed for sale after foreclosure.  We are also seeing some of the best values outside the foreclosure arena as sellers may have the resources and/or need to sell at an equal or lower price through a traditional sale.

Regardless of the option you chose, it can be beneficial to understand the local foreclosure activity by researching the sales through the local Sheriff’s Office.  The sale specifics vary by county but can give you a general feel for the market and volume of future bank owned properties.  Please find below the direct links to the local Sheriff Sales listed by State and County:

Pennsylvania:

Delaware County PA SheriffBerks County
Bucks County
Chester County
Delaware County
Lancaster County
Montgomery County
Lehigh County
City of Philadelphia

New Jersey:

Burlington County
Camden County
Gloucester County
Mercer County

Delaware:

New Castle County

All the options for both the buyers and sellers have their benefits, but it is important that no matter which path you chose that you do your research to understand the market and the advantages/disadvantages of buying through each different channel.

As always, if you are thinking of a move or need any addtiional information, please do not hesitate to contact me anytime.

Chadds Ford PA Notes & Market Update

June 15, 2009

Located in the southwestern corner of Delaware County PA, Chadds Ford really combines the best of Delaware County, Chester County, and New Castle County.

Brandywine Battlefield Chadds Ford PAOriginally known as Birmingham Township, Chadds Ford finally changed it’s name on December 11, 1996.  The township is steeped in history.  It was named after John Chad who, at the urging and with some help from the county, ran a ferry over the Brandywine in this area starting in 1717.  The township  later hosted a critical battle during the Revolutionary War when the Battle of the Brandywine occurred just to the east of the river.  On September 11, 1777, 11,000 soldiers under Washington were defeated by 18,000 British and Hessian Troops as they advanced into Pennsylvania.

More recently, the area has been renowned as the foundation of the Brandywine School of Art and the residence of the Wyeth Family.  Begun as a summer school by Howard Pyle, the Wyeths came as students and three generations have never left.  Brandywine River Museum Chadds Ford PAMany of their works can now be found in the Brandywine River Museum located along the banks of the Brandywine near the original ford.

For years, agriculture was the primary activity in the area, but beginning in the last half of the 1800’s the Brandywine Valley became popular as a second home for families from both Philadelphia and Wilmington.  The valley continues to have the same attraction today and continues to be popular with families working in Wilmington, Philadelphia, and throughout Delaware & Chester Counties.

Real Estate activity in the area has followed much the same pattern we have seen throughout the county – although some of the actual numbers have been skewed by new construction activity in the region and some very high end property sales.  Sales activity in Chadds Ford Township Delaware County peaked in 2004 with 95 sales at any average price of $385,000.  Archie's Corner Chadds Ford PAIn 2005, prices spiked up to $506,000 but sales fell to 81 properties.  Sales continued to slide to 75 properties in 2006, 62 in 2007, and 50 in 2008.  Prices were more volatile with the average price falling to $455,000 in 2006, rising to $495,000 in 2007, and falling again to $404,000 in 2008.

In 2009 so far, 15 properties have sold for an average price of $400,000.  There are an additional 11 under contract with an average list price of $416,000.  Finally, 51 properties are currently still active on the market with an average list price of $648,000.   As you can see with all the above numbers, pricing can be very erratic due to the wide range of types and prices of the properties within the township.  On the other hand, sales activity has been similar to what we have seen throughout the county as it has drifted down over the last several years.

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

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