Current Market Information
Main Line Real Estate in the Current Economic Slump
by Matthew Jahn
Should you buy?
In my opinion, right now is a good time to buy. Prices have dropped steeply across the United States, and while they may continue to fall, it is definitely not clear how far they may go. Interests rates are historically low, so while prices may continue to drop, interest rates may rise and negate your savings. In certain parts of the country, prices have dropped so low, you could not even build a replica house for the price some are selling for. The hardest hit places are, of course, parts of California and Florida.
The real reason you are at this website though is because you are interested in Philadelphia real estate, particularly the Main Line. Unlike other parts of the country, Philadelphia's real estate did not get as out of hand, and inflate into the realm of unjustifiable numbers. Philadelphia is certainly more expensive than many smaller cities and rural areas, but when compared to nearby cities like New York, Baltimore or Washington D.C. it is practically a bargain.
Main Line market stable
Housing stock is moving slower than before in Philadelphia because of buyer uncertainty and a harder time acquiring loans. And certainly some outlying suburbs are having harder times than others, especially areas that tried to mimic the Main Line. The Main Line however is entirely different. Areas such as Lower Merion Township have always historically been an extremely wise investment, maintaining value and steadily increasing in value at a gradual but not artificially inflated pace. Location and school systems drive real estate values, and the entire Main Line has both.
The Main Line has very few foreclosures, and as the most desirable suburban setting in an area of well over 5 million people, it would be one of the last places to crash. True, houses are not selling as fast as a couple years ago, but housing values have dropped very little and sellers are being quite stubborn on the Main Line. Data from this year suggests things are picking up sales wise, but it is certainly still a buyers market. You need to do the research and make the decision yourself, but with low interest rates and great deals, I truly believe now is a good time to buy. When factoring in location, school district, and prestige, it is hard to envision Main Line homes losing much value now or in the future, even in this turbulent real estate market.
Tax credit for new buyers
Currently, in an effort to revitalize the housing market, the government is offering a tax credit for up to $8,000 (10% of purchase price) for home buyers. You can now get the money ahead of time for down payment or closing costs on an FHA loan. You must have the required 3.5% down payment but can add the credit on to increase your down payment. Otherwise, you can amend your taxes and get the money later. It does not have to be repaid as long as you live in your house for 3 years. More information HUD News.
The bottom line
As a Realtor my opinion may be better informed, but ultimately you need to make the final decision regarding the current market conditions yourself and decide whether now is the time to buy or sell.
Keep your receipts. Many of your moving costs are tax deductible, so you can increase your refund at tax time. Talk to your tax advisor to find out what is deductible, or call the Internal Revenue Service and request Publication 521: Tax Information on Moving Expenses.
Main Line Communities
This attractive contemporary home is for sale in north Villanova (Lower Merion Township) on a level one-acre lot. In the heart of the Main Line, this home is near the estate section of Villanova. Houses on the street have sold for over a million dollars (house next door sold for 1.4 million). The lot itself is worth the asking price. This is a fabulous opportunity to get into the prestigious Main Line, in a multi-million dollar neighborhood with blue ribbon schools, for a reasonable price. House is close to numerous local Septa stops (a 19 minute ride to center city), the 476, the 76, the fabulous King of Prussia shopping center and Villanova University.» More Information...
Each day Realtor Matt Jahn scours the new listings for the finest estates and best values the Pennsylvania Main Line has to offer. This includes new listings, short sales, foreclosures, and new construction. Matt has an excellent eye for a quality find, and his top selections rarely stay on the market long; sometimes they are under contract within days of becoming available. Don't miss out on your dream Main Line home, whether it be a condo or sprawling estate. Contact Matt today for an appointment to see the best the Main Line has to offer. Read his Guide to Main Line Real Estate to learn more about the many communities he serves.» More Information...
The Main Line has many excellent features, but one of its greatest assets is its many nationally recognized and ranked public and private schools. Not only does the Main Line have some of the best and highest rated grade schools, but is home to many world-class colleges and universities as well. One of the driving forces of real estate prices and a big part of desirability is an area's school system. Whether you are looking for a great school for your children, or want a good school system for resale value, the Main Line fulfills these criteria. With high test scores, low teacher to student ratios, and a lot of tax money going into the system, you cannot go wrong with any school district on the Main Line.» More Information...
Prudential Fox & Roach Realtors are the #1 Realtor on the Main Line and the #1 single-market Realtor in the country. Our market dominance and resources give us an unmatched ability to perform for you. Whether you are buying, selling, renting, or relocating, when you call on Prudential Fox & Roach, you access a network of passionate professionals with rock-solid, real-world connections and the best marketing technology in the business. We create a positive experience and add value to all those we impact. Our professionalism is a role model for our industry and the public.» More Information...