Spring’s real estate market was the Philadelphia area’s best since the housing bubble burst in mid-2007, with significant increases in prices and sales volume in almost every county.
Between April 1 and June 30, the region’s median price for a single-family home rose to $217,000, from $212,000 in the same period last year, according to an analysis of second-quarter sales for Berkshire Hathaway Home Services by Kevin Gillen, chief economist for Meyers Research and senior research fellow at Drexel University’s Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation.
Sales volume rose 15 percent, to 18,325 from 15,961 in second quarter 2014, Gillen said, and the average time a house spent on the market dropped to 69 days from 95 days regionwide in the same period last year.
“People were back in the market, that’s for sure,” said S. Clark Kendus, of D. Patrick Welsh Real Estate in Swarthmore, Delaware County.
“Homes are flying off the market in days, especially if the price is right and everything that needs to be done has been done to the listing,” said Frank Dolski, an agent with Coldwell Banker Hearthside Real Estate in Lahaska, Bucks County.
Year over year, price appreciation or value – which compares a home’s recent sale price with its previous sale – also favored the city over the suburbs, as measured by Gillen. Overall, the region saw a 2.1 percent bump. Price appreciation in Philadelphia was 5.2 percent; it was 1 percent in the other 10 counties. (Nationwide, price appreciation was 4.8 percent year over year.)
Meanwhile, South Jersey – though still struggling with more than its share of distressed housing (bank repossessions, foreclosures, and short sales), also showed some strength.
Mike Lentz, of Keller Williams Real Estate in Sicklerville, said June median prices for Gloucester County dropped 23 percent between 2007 and 2013 – from $240,000 to $185,000. But the June 2015 median was $203,000, a 9.7 percent increase from the bottom in 2013, he said.
“We did see an extremely strong first and second quarter,” said Val Nunnenkamp, of Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach in Marlton, with an uptick in prices of about 2 percent to 3 percent overall, and with higher-end homes in Haddonfield and Moorestown up 3 percent to 5 percent.
Robert Acuff of Re/Max Services in Blue Bell, a director of Trend MLS, said that overall “the market has been gaining strength. While prices are stable, volume has increased noticeably.”
The consensus, Acuff said, is that prices will drift up in the 2 percent-to-3 percent range through the balance of the year – a healthy rate.
Noted Weichert Realtors regional vice president John Bilek: “We’re seeing the market follow the cyclical 17-year pattern that we’ve seen over the past 80 years. We are two years into an eight- to 10-year run-up.”