by Bob Kelly
I hope this issues Real Estate Market Update finds everyone beginning to enjoy the spring! Amazingly, the brutal March weather did not slowed down the Residential Real Estate Mark. Which has been the theme over the past year and a half; Real Estate prices continue to rise. The Lehigh Valley is now entering its’ fourth year of appreciation and Monroe County is entering its’ third. With these continuations one must begin to ask- what was the case from 2005-2007? Is there a Real Estate Bubble upon us?
Monroe County went through an extended 8-year price decline, was the last county in the area to rebound due to the high amount of foreclosures which were in the pipeline. It was just two years ago that the county would normally have 1,000 to 1,200 foreclosures a month. Fast forward to 2018 and what a difference. Now foreclosures are running at 20-30% of previous and the “flippers” are paying much more for the few properties they can find to rehabilitate. Real Estate in the county continues to look up- as it has been over the past 27 months.
Much of what has led to the rebound is more work in the PA-NJ-NY region for homeowners living in the area which has increasingly slowed down foreclosures and in turn, caused many multiple offer bidding wars to occur on homes. In just 2017 alone, my team were involved in 28 of them. As the county continues to grow and add new businesses it just attracts more people who are rediscovering it. The Pocono Manor Investments announcement that the Ripley’s Aquarium is now a definite, as well as Kalahari doubling the size of their convention center and the pre-announcement of a new entertainment complex which will accompany the aquarium to the mountain, just adds more visitors to discover how beautiful the Pocono Mountains truly are. As this momentum continues, we should only hope that townships to the east work as hard to bring more business so that the county counties to grow at a proper ratio and that our Stroudsburg Borough officials and State elected officials can work together to direct some state redevelopment funds to downtown. We have such a beautiful downtown, however there are too many vacant lots. Imagine if the town could double the buildings and people living in it to support its growth. The time has come for our elected officials to bring some of the money which has been given to Bethlehem, Allentown and Lancaster to Stroudsburg.
As we look at the Real Estate numbers for the past year in Monroe County it is not only VERY encouraging but also a little scary. Inventory remains somewhat low, consistently averaging 25-30% less homes on the market than the previously month on month averages. However, while that number has remained consistent, prices are jumping fast! Consider that the price increase for homes sold year on year for January showed a 19% increase. Then look at February and that number grew to a 34% increase in a month! This 15% increase can mainly be attributed to the inventory shortage and huge drop in foreclosure homes available.
The big question is with interest rates and inflation on the rise how long can this run up last? We are still not where we were at the bubble in 2007 but we are closing in fast. The biggest questions are what will the rising interest rates do once they exceed 5% or in the not too distant future 6%? Based on the way these rising interest rates take a toll on home purchasing power down the road it should come into play. The question is; when?
You see this in ads however now is the truly the time to look at selling your home if you plan to in the near term. With inventory levels lower and prices higher than we have seen in over a decade the time could not be better. Please call me today if you would like to learn more about what your home may be valued at today. You may be pleasantly surprised!
Bob Kelly is the top-selling Residential Real Estate Agent in Monroe County and is Leader of the Kelly Realty Group at Keller Williams Real Estate in Stroudsburg. Visit him at KellyRealtyGroup.com or email Bob at firstname.lastname@example.org.