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Upper Mac Real Estate Prices On The Rise

The median selling price of a home is $294,000, but end of tax credits have dulled incentives.

Upper Mac Real Estate Prices On The Rise

In an effort to explain why the 9 percent increase in real estate prices in
Upper Macungie Township isn’t more robust this year, D. Brad Patt spoke to
the average person and compared the current real estate market to
basketball.

Last year, with federal tax credits, it was like playing ball with a big,
oversized rim that allowed a team to roll up the points on almost every
shot, he said.

But this year the rim is back to normal size and its harder to score.

The upbeat senior vice president of  Prudential Patt, White Real Estate and
The Premier Group in Allentown isn’t accustomed to talking about a slow
market. But that is his task these days.

“This year is a normal, non-tax credit market,’’ Patt said. “Last year, the
government was giving tax credits.“

The tax credits, started in 2009, were aimed by the federal government at
correcting the worst real estate market since the Great Depression.. They
had allowed credits up to $8,00 for first time home buyers and $6,500
credits to current home owners purchasing a new or existing homes.

Indeed, Lehigh Valley sales were reported down 24 percent in May to 432
compared to a year ago, according to the Lehigh Valley Board of Realtors on
June 20. But compared to April, sales were up 29.3 percent from 334.

The median (the midpoint of the prices) sales price was $164,000, down from
$175,00 last year. And the average property is on the market 86 days,
compared to 76 in May 2010.

So when homeowners compare values between this year and 2010, it’s back to
normal. The incentive is gone.

Patt is one of a few real estate people in the Lehigh Valley who has a
statistical hand on all sectors of the Lehigh Valley with the Prudential
Patt, White Home Expert Report.

It showed Upper Macungie’s prices increasing, while neighboring Lower
Macungie, South Whitehall and Emmaus dropped.  The median price sold per
property was up 8.88 percent is the average of the median prices over each of 12 months.", the study said.

The median selling price of a home in Upper Macungie was $294,000
this May, compared to $239,900 a year ago.

Two hundred and six houses were listed for sale this May, compared to 220 a
year before. Sixteen  houses were sold this May, and 13 a year ago.

“Readers should keep in mind in most areas, new business under contracts
has not yet settled is up strongly,” Patt said, “which is the element of
comparing last year’s tax credit business vs. this year’s standard
business.”

Craig Scharadin a Realtor with the Frederick Group in South Whitehall
Township has sold houses in the boroughs, towns and cities in the Lehigh
Valley since the 1970s.

He said he’s never seen such  a strange market as this one. But he keeps
plugging away, as he teaches the young sales associates to do. Emmaus and
Parkland school districts are still No. 1 and No. 2 where people are
interested.

“It seems to me that we’re doing a little better this year,” he said. “Were
not booming, but we‘re better. I‘m banging on the bottom.”

Realtor Larry Ginsburg, president of Prudential Regency Real Estate in
Allentown, has been involved in the business throughout the area for 39
years.

“Those selling their homes need to price them properly,“ he said. “We need
to get the foreclosures and short sales out or our system. And the
unemployment rate, near 9 percent, isn’t any good.’’

Ginsburg said he feels for the young people entering the business.
“There are about 432 sales per month in the Lehigh Valley,’’ he said. “And
there are 2,000 Realtors.”

(Dan Shope is an associate with the National Referral Service in Devon.)

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