Tag Archive for: NEPA

For more than twenty-five years David has worked in the hospitality industry, coming together with some of the most renowned chefs in the country to provide unparalleled experiences for diners and special event guests in settings both intimate and grand. Customer-service-obsessed and eminently skilled at building relationships, David has met the incredibly high expectations of clients of the finest restaurants in San Francisco, Chicago and New York. In his role as a general manager, whether in a fine-dining restaurant or a high-end event venue, no detail escapes his attention. Maximizing every opportunity for both his employers and his clients has always been the hallmark of David’s career.

David recently joined Realty Network Group and he’s thrilled to have the opportunity to be part of a growing team and a thriving local business. Like his colleagues there, some of whom he’s known since childhood, David adheres to the highest standards of integrity and is deeply committed to building a collaborative culture. His deep roots in the area – including several of his seven siblings, who live and work locally – have resulted in his building a distinct network. His commitment to the growth and prosperity of Northeastern Pennsylvania (NEPA) and its residents is stronger than ever.

While excited to be connecting buyers and sellers throughout our market, David is particularly drawn to the idea of helping people find homes (their first home, their forever home, their investment home, whatever that may be). In prioritizing getting to know his clients and understanding their values, dreams and vision for their lives, David is an ideal collaborator and guide for anyone looking to make a home in NEPA.

David has the ability to see the potential of a property beyond its surface traits, as evidenced by his personal investment in a turn-of-the-century Victorian home and his ongoing efforts, with his partner Patrick, to restore the home’s original character and grandeur, while making it both beautiful and livable. Recently featured on the Lackawanna Historical Society’s Historic Hill House Tour, this beautifully revitalized home is a great example of David’s eye for interior design, his respect for history, while still having a disposition for the future, and his interest in building community and investing in his beloved hometown.

David Boland is native to our region, having been born and raised in Clarks Summit, where his parents still reside, and now as a resident of Scranton’s historic Hill Section. He loves antiques and has a special talent for upcycling vintage furniture and other elements of home décor. A skilled cook and entertainer in his own right, David can frequently be found at the Co-Op Farmer’s Market in Scranton, at one of the area’s garden centers, sourcing great local ingredients, refining his home landscaping and updating the seasonal décor for his wrap-around porch.

If you’re in need of the services of a REALTOR®, who has his eyes on the details, who looks out for your best interests throughout the real estate process, contact David Boland today at 773-791-0329 or via [email protected].

Realty Network Group is expanding into Luzerne county and now further up into Susquehanna county. The Upstate New York-Pennsylvania border isn’t a stretch either with the recent addition of Sonia Hegedty. She’s an outgoing licensed professional who’s eager to serve clients who know what they want in the way of real estate investments in addition to those trying to find their way toward home ownership. She joins our firm with over a year of experience.

“I look forward to connecting buyers and sellers in Susquehanna, Wyoming, Lackawanna and Bradford counties,” exclaims Sonia. “It’s all about bringing value to my clients and helping them reach the places they want to go.” Realty Network Group’s newest addition is a forward-thinker. Her education, her drive to learn more, her networking ability and willingness to help her clients makes her an invaluable resource to them. She understands the power knowledge has in this business – the power to skillfully navigate through transactions with some pretty hefty price tags. She has her eyes set on becoming an Associate Broker over the next four or five years.

“Being part of events in my community is also important to me,” expresses Sonia. In fact, that’s one of the things that led her to a community-conscious company, like Realty Network Group. “This company is a great fit for me,” reveals Sonia. “It’s somewhere I feel comfortable and whose vision matches mine. Realty Network Group has a great network of agents. One of their strengths is the ability to be present and have an up-to-date way of interacting with consumers through technology, social media, while still maintaining that personal touch.” She enjoys working with homebuyers and sellers alike and uses a visual approach, helping them understand their needs. When working with buyers, she loves making suggestions that they may never have considered before: how a room’s layout can function for them or what modifications can transform the house into a home. These strategies inevitably favor sellers too. The visual components of placing a home on the market are some of the most critical when showcasing real estate to potential suitors.

Sonia was born and raised in Susquehanna county and is a graduate of Elk Lake High School. Her two children attend the same school district as she did. She loves Northeastern Pennsylvania, including the Endless Mountain region and all that it has to offer. She enjoys spending time with her family, golfing and reading.

If you’re in need of a positive, friendly REALTOR®, who understands the value of communicating with her clients in a timely manner, contact Sonia now at [email protected] or 570.767.1668 (cell).

Realty Network Group is pleased to announce that Alicia Miles, a REALTOR® serving the Greater Scranton area, has joined their firm. She recognizes this change will provide opportunities for her clients looking to buy or sell. There are challenges ahead in this market for those Alicia is guiding, for sure, but her optimistic-approach bodes well for anyone she’s representing. Her positive demeanor mixed with a hands on, easy going attitude sets the stage for success in addition to building relationships that will last in this business. “I love making dreams become reality,” underscores Alicia. “And this is a distinct possibility when I first encounter customers looking to take that next big step. Understandably so, it can be intimidating, but some are simply unaware of how close they really are. This is where I come in. As their agent, I’m able to guide them in finding the perfect home or selling theirs or both!”

Prior to real estate, Alicia, with experience in masonry and construction, built commercial swimming pools as well as worked as a full-time preload supervisor for UPS. In addition to presently being employed as an independent contractor for FedEx and being a mother of two boys, she enjoys representing homebuyers and sellers throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania (NEPA). “Whether it’s being an independent contractor for FedEx or Realty Network Group, I want to continue to challenge myself,” maintains Alicia. “In both of my positions, it’s critical that I heighten my attention to detail and go above and beyond for my customers.”

Alicia believed she needed to join a company who would support her in these efforts and provide further training to be successful. That company? “Realty Network Group is a Brokerage where I get a pervading sense of trust from the Broker, Associate Brokers and many of the other agents I’ve interacted with there,” states Alicia. She thinks it’s easy to talk to agents at this company. She reiterated what some have stated in the past – “You feel like you belong. The support goes beyond what you’re provided with at most other Brokerages.” She’s excited to have made the switch. “We’re happy to have Alicia as part of our family and we look forward to many of the amazing things she’ll accomplish in the months and years to come as one of our professionals,” affirms Dianne Montana, Principal Broker of Realty Network Group.

One of the firm’s satellite offices, located in Old Forge, provides her with the perfect place to meet clients. Growing up in Sunbury, a location with a small town vibe, slightly similar to Old Forge, where she currently resides for over the past six years, has helped her appreciate NEPA and all that the area has to offer. She loves the Greater Scranton community. She also enjoys spending time with her family, being involved in the community, going to the gym, her “Jeep life,” camping, cheering on her boys, just to name a few.

If you need a confident real estate professional, who exudes positivity, contact Alicia right away at [email protected] or 570.556.7987 (cell).

A real estate career is truly unique, unlike any profession you’ll discover. Those who have been connecting buyers and sellers for some time will tell you no two transactions are alike and there are hurdles along the way – many! Realty Network Group’s newest agent, Florence Avvisato, is eagerly awaiting the challenges that will inevitably appear for her seller and buyer clients in 2023. This industry is always changing, in fact there’s never been a time which has mimicked the past three years in real estate. Florence recognizes present opportunities not only for her clients, but also for her personal growth.

We recently sat down with her to find out where she sees herself in five years. Furthermore, we were impressed with her ability, in the first place, to anticipate the skills needed to be successful. “On the surface, real estate is a challenging space, and that appeals to me,” remarks Florence. “Because this industry grants flexibility for originality and possibilities for those willing to pull in the time, there are a variety of ways individuals can thrive. I believe this gives people the ability to excel creatively, and for that reason, real estate will always be stimulating.” Her forward-thinking approach will be an asset to her clients, who can count on her integrity and ambition, as she seeks to go above and beyond to meet their needs.

Years from now, Florence envisions many of her strengths, which she learned or fine-tuned in the hospitality and medical fields, creating advantages for her homebuyers and sellers. Her experience in hospitality taught her how to be humble. She learned the importance of punctuality, accommodation, thriving under pressure and attention to detail. Each of these traits are often sorely missed in our business. For instance, her ability to “read the room” and meet people in their present situation in order to effectively communicate is an exceptional quality for a REALTOR® to possess today. Moreover, similar to how customers notice the details of their surroundings (such as a restaurant), buyers notice how a property shows or if their agent is someone they can relate to and trust. If people don’t like what they see, they’re not coming back!

As someone starting a new career in real estate, she believes it’s critical for people to know they can count on her. “I truly care about buyers and sellers, and being their trusted guide through one of life’s most monumental moments,” reveals Florence. “I don’t take a purchase or sale of this size lightly. I knew I wanted to team up with a Brokerage, who supports their REALTORS®, one who provides ample training. Realty Network Group is what I perceive as an incredibly safe space for learning, and learning is my key objective at this point.” She sees the value in a firm that provides excellent training, understanding that the more she knows, the better service she can provide to her clientele. She saw a great reputation in Realty Network Group, one with a strong foundation of integrity and ethical practice.  “The way people perceive you is greatly attributed to how you treat and carry out business with them,” asserts Florence.

She’s lived in Northeastern Pennsylvania, specifically the Wyoming Valley, for over the past two decades, but she’s very familiar with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area. She loves that NEPA allows for a variety of lifestyles and provides so many places to explore. She’s a devoted wife and mother of three and resides in the Back Mountain. She’s an avid outdoorswoman and enjoys doing anything outside, especially gardening or hiking through national parks. She’s currently training to run her second half marathon race in March.

If you’re in need of the services of a real estate professional, someone who has a positive demeanor, who’s highly motivated and energetic, and who tries to see things from other people’s perspectives, then Florence Avvisato is the agent for you! You can reach her directly via 272-446-0407 or [email protected].

Real estate is more than a transaction, it alters lives and creates memories. It’s about helping homebuyers and sellers make the right move at the right time. One REALTOR® who ascribes to this mantra is Halle Stevens. Born and raised in Northeastern Pennsylvania, this passionate, bright and enthusiastic agent is excited for what the future holds. Recently, she made the move to Realty Network Group, a company that embraces many of the ideals she also holds to be true.

“Meeting people and communicating is critical for helping buyers and sellers make the right move,” indicates Halle. “I enjoy learning what my clients need, their wants, then developing a custom plan for the individual or their family, if they’re shopping for a home or investment, or for the property, if they’re looking to sell.” When sitting down with Halle, you understand why she’s successful in this business. What makes her stand out from other agents is her drive, her commitment to her clients in addition to how she’s wired to communicate. Furthermore, she has a strong background in marketing, which is never wasted in our industry.

In her past life, Halle displayed her entrepreneurial mind set when she launched an Instagram page, which quickly became a success. The page focused on the promotion of (national and international) real estate houses for sale. It was during this venture when she discovered how to get the most eyeballs on the listings she was featuring. Now, as she gains more experience dealing with buyers and sellers, homeowners reap the benefits of having an agent who knows how to market their home. And effective marketing is crucial with 51% of buyers now finding the home they eventually purchase online.

Besides her passion and motivation for connecting buyers and sellers, her relationship-forming abilities are a strength too. “My philosophy is simple,” reveals Halle. “My clients come first!” She’s dedicated to providing excellent service, while keeping her clients informed every step of the way. She’s a real estate professional who’s in constant communication with them, available 24/7. Her attention to the transaction, from beginning to end, aids her goal of making it a positive experience for her buyers or sellers.

“Realty Network Group is centered around their agents,” points out Halle. “This allows them to have more tools and knowledge at their fingertips for their clients’ benefit. This firm is a great fit for me, because of the support they provide, their office atmosphere and the positive reputation they have throughout our area. They’re also very involved in giving back to the community, something I’m always striving to do. I’m extremely eager to get started at Realty Network Group. 2023 is my year!”

From a very young age, Halle has always wanted to be a real estate agent. She loves every aspect of the business and couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Her family has been a positive influence in her life as well. Her grandparents instilled in her a strong work ethic and the idea that with hard work anything can be accomplished. They taught her that dreams are only goals you can attain and to never give up.

Are you looking for a fresh start in real estate and need the services of an agent who is locally-connected, who loves what she does, who is always available and who is dedicated to providing you timely, accurate information? Then experience the difference the RIGHT AGENT can make, someone who puts you FIRST. Connect with Halle today at 570-909-6018 (direct) or via [email protected].

Downtown living is a different way of life, especially in Northeastern Pennsylvania (NEPA). Whether it’s Scranton or Wilkes-Barre, there are arguably more amenities at your fingertips and a different mode of going about your daily activities compared to other areas in the region. Downtown living provides residents options for how they conduct their affairs and how they interact with their community.

Downtown living in NEPA is often perceived as being in sharp contrast to the more rural lifestyle so many from our region experience regularly. Most of our school districts cater to children from bucolic areas. Heck, even some from our communities will joke about how traveling into downtown Scranton is like entering “the big city.” Yet, there are those who migrated in from major metropolitan cities. To them, Scranton is as miniature as you get for downtown living!

The Electric City, as Scranton is also known, once built upon the shoulders of coal-mining families, has evolved into something of legend. On November 30, 1886, the first streetcar system run entirely by electricity, made its debut in America in downtown Scranton. Where there were once strong ethnic concentrated centers of Irish, Italians, Polish, Germans, Jews throughout parts of the city, a melting pot has sprung up giving unique spins on the culture. This is evident in restaurants like Thai Rak Thai or even two in the north side: Casa Bella and Ipanema Grille. There’s a new-found sense of hope for a rebirth movement in this city.

The rebirth of a city plays a role in downtown living done right. Some of the essential features that make for great downtown living are walkable sections of town; commercial space that is of the mixed-used category; gathering spaces for recreation, education and entertainment; a successful residential component; and accessible/affordable parking. While these aren’t the only features that make a downtown thrive, they should be on everyone’s radar. We believe Scranton is building towards something spectacular. Obviously there’s still work to be done, but economic revitalization efforts have been undertaken by the city and organizations, such as Scranton Tomorrow. We simply can’t overstate how vital this volunteer-based organization has been in transforming downtown Scranton, especially in recent years.

Being a walkable community makes for great downtown living. Wide sidewalks, decorative courts/side-streets, greenspaces and removing graffiti/litter are ways to create pleasant spaces for pedestrians. Having a mixed-use mindset is also necessary for any new development and construction that takes place in the downtown area. Pedestrians want to be able to connect to the larger community, which surrounds them, and they want to feel welcomed as they venture around town. Community connection goes beyond commercial businesses. Connecting at events, drinking establishments, performing arts centers, fairs, movie theaters, parks, artisan markets, just to name a few is important for the creation of downtown living, which is a step above the rest. People want downtown living to be their city’s family room, especially in the later hours of the evening. Having affordable and convenient housing as well as parking are also what makes downtown living click.

Since COVID, we’ve experienced a trend in NEPA whenever possible where restaurants and pubs have provided more opportunities for patrons to enjoy food, drink and entertainment outside, in larger upgraded/converted spaces or in semi-covered areas, usually a back patio space or front of a building. Other accommodations have been made at hotels, convention centers, etc., but restaurants seem to have been the most creative to date.

A recent positive trend with respect to downtown living has been a decrease in vacant commercial space. When more businesses are leasing space or renting larger spaces, or when developers start thinking about catering to a person’s balanced lifestyle rather than only one of their aspects, everyone wins. In Scranton, one great example of a business who has done exactly this and has doubled-down on investing in the downtown area is Noteology. For downtown living to be done right, it’s all about a lived experience which is optimized and shared by residents and visitors to the city. Create a story and memories, then some of the first steps toward building a flourishing downtown are realized.

Successful downtowns don’t sprout up overnight. They take time, hard work, cooperation, great minds, forward-thinkers, patience and the like. To produce a “live-work-play” community in Scranton, or anywhere for that matter, takes these things in addition to the attributes described above.

 

* Image courtesy of Discover NEPA

 

Real Estate and Houses for Sale in Scranton, PA

Commercial Properties for Sale Near Scranton, PA

Lake Houses for Sale Near Scranton, PA

Realty Network Group is pleased to announce the addition of Annabelle Rogers to their network of real estate professionals. She’s a newly licensed REALTOR® who’s lived in Northeastern Pennsylvania since the age of six. She’s eager to help families find what they’re looking for: investment properties, starter homes, forever homes and the like. Annabelle has a distinct skill set, which sets her apart from some of her peers in our business. These include an extensive background in child care, experience in customer service, an affinity for interior room design and a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics.

These abilities will help her succeed, while connecting buyers and sellers in today’s challenging market. “I love assisting children and their parents,” explains Annabelle. “Besides child care or my responsibilities as a nanny, one of the most important things I can do for families is to help them connect the dots as they seek to acquire or sell a home.” Catering to people’s needs is certainly a strength she brings to the table.

Annabelle has her eyes set on furthering her education, perhaps one day becoming an Associate Broker. She plans to keep learning and improving her craft, enabling her clients to prosper. There’s a certain level of knowledge and anticipation needed as a real estate professional and she believes she’s headed in the right direction. Trustworthiness also plays a role. Her past and present employers know she’s very trustworthy – she’s even been left with their infants in foreign countries.

“After interviewing with several companies, Realty Network Group offered the most support for a newer agent like myself,” maintains Annabelle. “This company was most eager to help me excel in this business. Their marketing is a step above the rest and their website is user-friendly and very appealing. I look forward to the new year and assisting homebuyers and sellers on their path to homeownership”

Annabelle will be a great addition to Realty Network Group. Her passion for learning, her ability to problem solve and her willingness to help are also pluses as she begins her real estate career.

If you have your heart set on buying or selling in the near future, get in touch with Annabelle Rogers today. Her upbeat nature and work ethic are sure to be strengths for you in reaching your real estate goals! She can be contacted at 570-862-3331 or at [email protected].

Black-eyed Susans are in full bloom, raging across gardens and hillsides in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Chatter has begun about picking apples, not blueberries, from an orchard near you. Ritters, anyone? Sure, Dunkin Donuts is now showcasing its Blood Orange Refresher, claiming it’s their seasonal drink. Schools are reopening for the new academic year. Football has begun again! Did you catch yesterday’s Backyard Brawl thriller? The unofficial end to summer happens this Labor Day weekend. And yes, this morning was a little chilly, I must say, but I’m holding onto summer this year!

We lack the four seasons in our region, we really do. Spring, in recent years, is a mixture of winter slop and daffodils and crocuses refusing to make up their minds whether it’s time to sprout or not. Autumn seems hidden behind the winter breeze that kidnaps the summer heat. When summer finally gets into motion, department stores are cramming Halloween decor and Christmas lights into our shopping carts. Don’t get me wrong, fall is my favorite, absolute favorite season of the year. [I even purchased a case of Founders’ Oktoberfest a few days ago – shhhh!] I’m just not willing to surrender to autumn this year. I don’t care how many times you shout pumpkin spice!

Summer hasn’t made an exit yet. In fact, I had sand between my toes only days ago and a sunburn on my right arm.

Real estate may likewise side with my position. It appears, like me, it could be summer dreaming. Some of its optics exude traditional summer responses. More properties have gone under contract in August of this year as opposed to August of 2021 and the housing supply remains dismal, 1.65 months supply, last time I checked. Keep in mind, a balanced market with normal inventory levels produces a month’s supply between five and seven. Nevertheless, as much as I hate to admit it, our market’s leaves are changing color. Sold listings through last month, year-to-date, are down 6.4%. New listings, likewise, are down month-over-month, when compared to last August, by over 23%. Perhaps this market has had enough of the surge it experienced over the previous twenty-six months (give or take).

Could it be that homebuyers, much like blueberry-pickers of July and August, have had their fill? They’ve looked at the entire inventory (which hasn’t been much), they’re fatigued by record-setting inflation and mortgage rates that don’t look as appealing as they did this past January. Although there’s certainly an element of truth to these pressures, the strain has been on buyers for some time now, our market remains rather healthy. When will inventory increase and the market become more balanced? That’s really anyone’s guess at this point – industry experts have yet to nail that down. In spite of that, year-to-date, there’s been a 19.9% increase in homes sold this year opposed to only five years ago in 2017.

We’re looking forward to a change in season in real estate, after all buyers need reprieve too! But summer wants to stick around this year (it told me so). We hope you can enjoy the few remaining weeks of the season.

* statistics from the Greater Scranton Board of REALTORS® (August 2017 – August 2022)

 

Whatever season you find yourself in, make sure to use our “search by city” feature and discover all our area has to offer.

Summer is the best time of the year to explore Northeastern Pennsylvania (NEPA)! Alright, I lied, my favorite time of the year in our region is early autumn with cider donut runs, changing foliage and high school football back on the menu, but summer is easy on the eyes too. There’s plenty to see and do in the Greater Scranton area and we hope you can set aside some time to get busy and explore.

NEPA has diverse environments with everything from hiking trails to city streets and commercial businesses in the downtown areas of Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, Dickson City, to name a few. You can explore much of this region from our “search by city” page.

Over the past two years, homebuyers have looked at their purchase slightly differently. Now, some buyers desire spaces where they can work-from-home. They want living spaces without open floor plans to allow for remote work in addition to having areas for their children to complete their homework and other ways to escape. Are open floor plans going out of style? Maybe, but the pandemic brought us here and we’ve taken notice of this trend in recent months. A modification in purchasing habits certainly happens from time-to-time. That’s why there are trends in the first place, but this one came on rapidly. Solitude in the home is welcomed and some buyers need walls for crying out loud. But if you can’t break from an open-concept home, perhaps living in a walkable community will help ground you and alleviate some of that stress.

In Northeastern Pennsylvania, walkable communities are slightly harder to discover, because after all, we have many rural areas. On the other hand, you can get just about everywhere in Scranton. While various parts of the city are certainly walkable and unique to the area (Green Ridge, North Scranton or the Hill Section immediately come to mind), car traffic has its day too. Is Scranton walkable? Yes, but it didn’t make our list. 

The tiny town of Jessup is nestled between Mount Cobb and the Lower Valley (Blakely) with a good mix of dwellings. There’s a rich heritage here, especially from those of Italian-American descent. The town is laid out well with the Casey Highway (Route 6) cutting through/above town, yet not obtrusive in any way. Jessup has a few parks for its residents to frequent, including Jessup Memorial Field Park & Kids Korner and Eales Preserve (a nature conservancy). Another bonus for inhabitants is the ease of access to the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail, in the north section of town. Shops and restaurants are within walking distance and most sit on Church Street or Hill Street. One drawback is walking access to grocery stores. For instance, the nearest one is approximately 1 to 2.5 miles depending on where you live. While some errands require car use in Jessup, the town does feature tourists at various times of the year and has access to public transit. Is Jessup walkable? Yes, but it didn’t make our list either.

Nonetheless, here are NEPA’s four most walkable communities:

Pittston

Location – Northeast of Wilkes-Barre, southwest of Scranton, in Luzerne County
Access – Route 11 and within close proximity to Interstate 81 and the northeast extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike
Walk Score – 76 
Highlights – Campbell’s Ledge is close to Pittston and for those who love to walk/bike, hop on the Lackawanna River Heritage Trail
Parks – Riverfront Park, Sullivan Park, Jefferson Park, James Clark Park, Albert West Park
Amenities – Restaurants and shops fill in Main Street as well as across the bridge in West Pittston (on/off Route 11)

Dunmore

Location – Neighboring Scranton on its east side
Access – Ranks very high with the ability to connect to Interstates 81, 84, 380/80 and the Casey Highway, all directly from town
Walk Score – 74
Highlights – Walking and biking around town is relatively easy with the wonderful sights of the Dunmore Cemetery and Marywood University. Scranton is relatively close too.
Parks – McHale Park (Dunmore Community Center), Sherwood Park, Saint Anthony’s Memorial Park
Amenities – Restaurants and shops along South Blakely and East Drinker Streets

Tunkhannock

Location – Northwest of Scranton in Wyoming County
Access – Route 6 and Route 29
Walk Score – 61
Highlights – Some of the cutest shops you’ll find outside of Clarks Summit and Honesdale, businesses are coming back into town and if you visit, you’ll see why
Parks – Riverside Park, McCord Park, Lazybrook Park
Amenities – Wonderful access to stores, restaurants and more on Tioga Street or Bridge Street; the Bypass has also helped keep much of the business/commuter traffic away from town

Old Forge

Location – Southwest of Scranton
Access – Quick ability to connect to the northeast extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, Interstate 81 and Route 11
Walk Score – 59
Highlights – Pizza is a favorite here, but you probably already knew that
Parks – There are nearby parks, which are worth the trip, but other than softball and little league fields, there are no parks in this borough
Amenities – Superb access to restaurants, stores along Main and Oak Streets, grocery stores would need to be accessed by car

There’s more uncertainty in the national real estate market than we’ve seen in some time. We’re two years beyond the onset of COVID and while we’re past many of the main health concerns of the virus, obstacles still remain. Remote work is likely here to stay, thus there are adjustments to housing post pandemic, which continue to unfold and impact the market. Is time running out for sellers to take advantage? Will buyers have a better chance of acquiring real estate being that their purchasing power has somewhat diminished? What’s in store for our market in the Greater Scranton area?

The future of real estate isn’t as dark as some would have you believe. The chance of a housing crash, the likes of 2007-2010, lacks much supporting evidence. In fact, the exact opposite might be true. Many experts are calling for a busy spring market this year and even Zillow projects home appreciation to hover around 9% for 2022. Many of the conditions, which existed prior to the housing bubble, simply aren’t present. When the market began to tank fifteen years ago, there was a surplus in housing inventory, mortgage lending resembled the Wild West and foreclosures occupied their fair share of the market.

Today, the narrative is quite different. There are shortages in markets throughout the country. Here in Northeastern Pennsylvania, our month’s supply of homes continues to unimpress buyers: year-to-date we sit at 1.29.* A magnifying glass would be required if the inventory got any smaller. In the four years, which consisted of the housing bubble, the market was heavily in favor of buyers and saw surpluses of housing between 7.3 and 9.6 month’s supply, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. Furthermore, lending restrictions are much tighter than those that existed fifteen years ago. In 2010, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act became law with its eye toward consumer protection and a reform of the lending industry, especially riddance of predatory lenders. In general, those who are approved for a mortgage in 2022 are much more qualified than those approved even a dozen years ago. Finally, negative equity in the national housing industry has reached its lowest level over this same period of time. Much fewer homeowners are underwater than were during the housing bubble.

The future of housing post pandemic is not scary. Actually, 2023 will probably resemble 2019 more than it will last year. Inventory will bounce back, but that might take a year or two. The immediate future for sellers does pose a threat to them receiving top dollar for their investment. “There’s a little insanity in our market right now,” maintains Amy L. Kiesinger Bohenek, an Associate Broker with Realty Network Group. “Listing agents are faced with multiple showings and offers, sometimes over asking price. The appraisal process can be cause for a headache from time-to-time too. When a home doesn’t appraise, where does that leave both parties, especially the seller?” Despite this, the window for bidding wars and high price appreciation is closing. Despite climbing mortgage rates, demand for housing remains strong. Price appreciation will continue to trend up, albeit home prices shouldn’t be in the neighborhood of 18%, like much of last year. Sellers in our region should act sooner than later if they want to take advantage of this market they find themselves firmly entrenched.

Buyers must hang in there if they have a desire to pursue real estate anytime soon. The question remains, how can you sit tight when your purchasing power appears to be vanishing? Homebuyers have seen the average thirty-year fixed mortgage rate increase to roughly 5.3%, which is about 2% higher than it was at the beginning of the year. Many first-time buyers are already struggling to get their foot in the door and compete with others, including investors. Higher rates, for those who require a mortgage, generally mean they’ll have less to contribute toward a monthly payment. That’s why it’s important for buyers to have a plan, stick to a budget and know what they can afford.

In addition to the factors listed above, real estate in Northeastern Pennsylvania continues to have affordability as its ally. Year-to-date, the median home sales price is $179,000 (up 7.7% from the previous year).* New listings are down slightly, but inventory is expected to pick up. The groundwork for homes to appreciate at a slightly slower pace with small improvements in inventory is being laid. With an increase in buyer and seller competition that’s sure to come this spring and summer, being too conservative, will surely impact homeowners thinking about selling.

 

* Greater Scranton Board of REALTORS®