Archive for August, 2010

2010 Delaware Primary Candidates Debate in Hockessin

August 24, 2010

Last night I had the chance to attend some primary debates in Delaware hosted by the Community Newspaper and Greater Hockessin Area Development Association at the Hockessin Fire Hall.  DE Primary Debates Hockesin Fire HallNow that we are heavily into the political season with the Delaware primary only two weeks away, I thought it might be good time to take a look at the early issues. (Warning to those looking for real estate: this is mostly politics and personal observations)

In the first panel, 3 of the 5 primary candidates were in attendance running for the US Senate and US Congress on the Republican side.  Michael Castle (R) and Rose Izzo (R) were not in attendance.  Christine O’Donnell (R) did a great job highlighting some key concerns with the absent Congressman.  Sherriff Candidates O'Leary Hart NavarroWhile Michele Rollins (R) and Glen Urquhart (R) both had generally aligned views, Michele appeared the more forceful advocate for her positions.  Some interesting proposals on immigration were addressed.

Only 2 of the 4 Auditor of Accounts and State Treasurer candidates were available. Kenneth Matlusky (D) was present for the Auditors while Korn sent a representative. Chip Flowers (D) revealed a good grasp for the issues and positions while Velda Jones-Potter was apparently at another meeting.

The 2 local County Council 3 candidates were both available.  Building on her previous years of experience, Janet Kilpatrick (R) demonstrated deep expertise in the local issues and processes.  Chip Flowers State Treasurer CandidateMichael Protack (R) continued with a strong performance building on his deep links in the community.

The final group consisted of all four candidates for Sheriff and was probably the most intriguing of the night.  Michael Walsh (D) highlighted his years of experience in the position, his budget surplus, and the latest technological advances in his organization.  Trinidad Navarro (D), William Hart (R), and Joseph O’Leary (R) all emphasized increased access, possible technological advances, and customer service.  An interesting item was the handling of foreclosures.

Working in both New Castle County and Delaware County PA, the focus concerning Sheriff Sales of the two present Sheriffs could not be more different.  Sheriff Joseph McGinn of Delaware County PA has made it a priority of his organization to work with the residents in his area to avoid foreclosure.  Candidate FlyersHis office will provide information on the foreclosure process and contacts that any homeowner can use to try to work out of their problem to avoid a sale.  This includes an offer to act as a conduit between the homeowner and lender to ensure the process is moving further.

The current New Castle County Sheriff’s Office has a different view and sees no responsibility to help the homeowner.  They are focused on the process and have been able to efficiently handle a quadrupling of their workload without adding any staff, while working efficiently with area attorneys, and creating a budget surplus.  They have been able to continue to excel at their core functions of Service of Process, Auctions, and Prisoner Detention and Transportation.

Janet Kilpatrick Mike Protack County Council 3

All three challengers seem to be moving toward a more balanced approach.

Thanks to Jesse Chadderdon, Editor of the Community News, for acting as moderator and to the Community News and Greater Hockessin Area Development Association for sponsoring the event.

David Henke
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc – Bear, DE/Newtown Square, PA
Office: 302-834-3431/Cell: 610-618-0808

Cedar Grove Farms PA Market Update

August 22, 2010

Cedar Grove Farms is a private smaller community of single family homes located just off Cedar Grove Rd in Marple Township Broomall PA.

Cedar Grove Farms Broomall PACedar Grove Farms is located just south of Cedar Grove Rd in Marple Township/ Broomall PA.  The development is about midway between Sproul Rd/ Route 320 and Newtown Street Rd/ Route 252.  This provides the residents immediate access to Media, Newtown Square, and Broomall and very easy commuting options along Route 1,  Route 3/ the West Chester Pike, and The Blue Route/ I-476.

Cedar Grove Farm is a newer community with the majority of homes completed between 1990 and 1994.  The development includes over 125 homes averaging 3500-4000 sqft but with sizes ranging over 5,000 sqft.  Most properties include 4-6 bedrooms with 2.5+ baths, full basements, and 2 or 3 car garages.  The lots are generally less than half an acre.

Cedar Grove Farms Home PA

This is a very stable area with a relatively slow turnover of properties, and it has not seen the steep rise and fall in prices experienced by some nearby home developments.   Activity peaked in 2003/2004 when there were five sales each year and prices rose from an average sales price of $568,000 to $660,000.  Since then prices have largely remained in the low $600,000 range.  There were 3 sales averaging $628,000 in 2005, 4 sales averaging $666,000 in 2006, 1 sale for $740,000 in 2007, 1 sale for $510,000 in 2008, 1 sale for $675,000 in 2009 and 2 sales year-to-date 2010 averaging  $631,000.  Today there are 5 home on the market with an average list asking price of $632,000.  No homes are currently under contract.

With it’s great location, stable neighbors, and reasonable pricing, Cedar Grove Farms should remain a popular mid-price choice in Broomall for years to come.  Activity should begin to pick up as real estate activity in general begins to turn around creating additional move up/down buyers in the region. 

David Henke
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc – Newtown Square,PA/Bear, DE
Office: 610-359-3853/Cell: 610-618-0808

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

Delaware County PA Market Update

August 15, 2010

As expected, the market is quickly returning to the mean as the effects of the tax stimulus disappear in our collective rearview mirror.

Since the last update based on the July 3 statistics, we have seen some interesting shifts:

Since July 3, 2010:
–  Total Active properties are up 5%
(from 3,620 to 3,803 homes on the market)
–  Total Pending properties are up 3.1%
(from 620 to 639 homes under contract)
–  Total Sales are up 7.1%
(from 2600 to 3030 homes now sold year-to-date)

If we compare this to the same date Aug 14, 2009, we see:

Since August 14, 2009:
–  Total Active are up 16%
–  Total Pending are down 22.7%
–  Total Sold are up 7.1%
–  Total Combined Pending & Sold are up 0.3%
(vs a combined total of up 7.8% on July 3, 2010)

Bottom Line:

At this point for Delaware County PA, it would appear that the stimulus simply moved sales to earlier in the year without really increasing the market.  Total Sales are now basically in line with the 2009 rate.  With current pendings down 22% from last year, total sales will quickly fall behind the 2009 rate.  In addition, a declining sales rate combined with an increasing inventory points to a buyers’ market and continued price pressure throughout the market.

Next Up:

We still have the traditionally strong sales months of September and October directly in front of us so activity could easily pick up short term which would quickly help to ease any pressure on prices.  With the continuing low interest rates, this remains an incredible opportunity for anyone looking at buying and holding long term.  Prices could still decline short term, but over a multi-year time frame, this could be an historic low combination of prices and interest rates.  We are already seeing strong turnarounds in some pockets across the country.

As always, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to let me know anytime.

David Henke
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc – Newtown Square,PA/Bear, DE
Office: 610-359-3853/Cell: 610-618-0808

Fee Free National Park Days August 14-15 for Philadelphia Area

August 11, 2010

The National Park Service is offering Free Admission to many of its sites this weekend.

Valley Forge National Park Visitor Center PAIt’s August as the hot and steamy summer rolls on.  The beach, the mountains, the sports, and the summer chores have all been done but now you are looking for something different before the days of camps, sports, and school return in just a few weeks.

Time to take advantage of the FEE FREE National Park Weekend August 14 & 15.

During the year the National Park Service offers 5 separate days or weekends when they eliminate their entrance fees to a variety of National Parks across the country.  This upcoming weekend, August 14 and 15, is one of those times and it looks like it should be an excellent weekend to take advantage of this offer.

Valley Forge PAThe Philadelphia region has 6 National Park sites as well as Hopewell Furnace National Historic site located just across the Chester County – Berks County border in French Creek State Park.  Most of the sites, including the  Independence National Historic Site, the Edgar Allen Poe Home, Glore Dei Church, the Deshler-Morris House, and the Thaddeaus Kosciuszko National Memorial, are normally free although they may require tour reservations.  In addition, both Valley Forge and Hopewell Furnace will have free admission this weekend.

This is a great time to take some time, learn some history, and enjoy more that the area has to offer.  Further afield, there are also many sites is New Jersey, Maryland, and other parts of Pennsylvania offering free admission including Steamtown in Scranton.  Enjoy!

David Henke
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc – Newtown Square,PA/Bear, DE
Office: 610-359-3853/Cell: 610-618-0808

Barley Mill Courts Greenville DE

August 2, 2010

Barley Mill Courts is an ideally located community of single family homes and townhomes on Barley Mill Rd just off Route 141.

Barley Mill Courts Greenville DEBarley Mill Courts is an exclusive small community with a pleasant mix of  single family properties and 16 townhomes.  The development is located just south of Barley Mill Road west of Route 141.  This ideal location affords immediate access to Route 141, Route 52/ Kennett Pike, and Route 48/ Lancaster Pike.  These provide easy commuting options into downtown Wilmington, Greenville, Centerville, Hockessin, and I-95 toward Philadelphia or Baltimore.

The first homes in Barley Mill Courts were completed in 1975 with development continuing into the early 1980s.  The townhomes average 2,000 sqft with the largest unit ranging up to 2,850 sqft.  The single family homes range from 2,500 sqft ranch homes to over 4,000 sqft classic colonials.  The “courts” design allow for smaller lot sizes with an abundance of open common space.  The homes themselves are today located in a nicely wooded environment.

Barley Mill Courts Luxury Homes Greenville DEReal estate pricing in the community has remained relatively stable through the years.  The average sales price first rose above the $500,000 level in 2003 and has continued to ranged between $490,000 and $550,000 including both the single family homes and townhomes.   Since having five sales with an average sales price of $519,000 in 2008, there  was only one sale in 2009 for $490,000 and two sales in 2010 for an average price of $512,500.  Today, there is one twin on the market for $465,000 and one pending single family home for $675,000.

With it’s great location convenient to Greenville, Wilmington, and Hockessin, and wide variety of housing choices in a smaller community, Barley Mill Courts should remain a prime address for years to come.

David Henke
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc – Bear, DE/Newtown Square, PA
Office: 302-834-3431/Cell: 610-618-0808

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