Tag Archive for: Northeastern PA

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

It’s been a trying time for homebuyers and sellers since mid-March. They’ve had to put their plans on hold. Their real estate future has been met with uncertainty, but of course, sadly some have lost their jobs and are either in no position to purchase property or are afraid of losing their home. Thankfully, mortgage loan forbearance has rescued many in this post-COVID-19 society. In fact, loan forbearance won’t negatively affect your credit. (Learn more about it here.) There are others who have surprisingly found themselves in a better position than they did at the start of the year: People have realized how much they dislike their jobs by having time to reflect and/or working from their residences; some are “earning” more on unemployment compensation than they did when they were employed; and some, who have families, are working from home while saving money on daycare costs (though that’s coupled with homeschooling these days).

It is a crazy world we live in right now. It seems as if my third grader had written this tale – a contagious virus attacks our cities, school’s out (as well as our supply of toilet paper) and when we opened our pool in May, it began to snow.

Presently, real estate is opened for business in only twenty-four (yellow) counties in Pennsylvania, but it’s not “business as usual” yet. There are precautions taking place in those counties resuming in-person activities. Over the next few weeks, we could see real estate showings and in-person meetings resume in parts of Northeastern PA. Homebuyers, who are patiently waiting and believe they’ll be in a position to buy in the upcoming weeks, can take steps to be ready for action. We’ve outlined six ways you can find your next home while sheltering in place:

  • Use Google’s Street View option to explore areas of interest. This tool allows you to catch a view of a house or an entire neighborhood without even taking a step outside.
  • Time is a precious commodity. We value it and we know you do too! Therefore, when you discover areas of interest, estimate how long it will take you to commute to and from work.
  • Research area schools and learn how they stack up against other districts in your community. GreatSchools is one place to look, but there are others as well. Gain insight into our area school districts and properties available for sale within those districts.
  • Research local cities to find out all they have to offer. We’ve done a little research for you on some of the popular cities of NEPA, including Archbald, Carbondale, Clarks Summit, Dickson City, Dunmore, Factoryville, Moscow, Old Forge and Scranton.
  • Connecting with locals is a great way to gain insight into a neighborhood. Scour the web for resources from local communities as well as social media groups you can join.
  • Make sure to equip yourself with crime data for neighborhoods where you’re thinking about purchasing a home. This is one way to be informed about how safe or potentially dangerous an area might be.
  • Find a buyer’s agent you can trust, who has experience selling in various market conditions and who’s knowledgeable about the areas you’re interested in.

For more insight, check out 8 Ways To Test-Drive A Neighborhood While Sheltering In Place.

Coronavirus Q&A below. Over the course of the past three weeks, Northeastern Pennsylvania (NEPA) has undergone changes in lifestyle, business and just about everything else you can possibly imagine, including real estate. Governor Tom Wolf’s orders, as they pertain to our industry, remain non-life-sustaining. Yet, in a recent move by the Pennsylvania Association of REALTORS® (PAR), the association entered a brief in support of a lawsuit, which has been filed against Pennsylvania’s governor. The purpose of the suit? To designate real estate as a life-sustaining business.

PAR recognizes the importance of “[minimizing] in-person services wherever possible and [following] appropriate CDC guidelines” to keep the public safe and flatten the spread of COVID-19, but when deemed necessary, the association believes sellers and homebuyers should have the ability to attain shelter – one of life’s three essentials.

Coronavirus Q&A: How to approach selling your home or buying one during the coronavirus pandemic.

Nevertheless, it’s a confusing time for buyers and sellers and you can add real estate professionals to the list also! Some consumers are left wondering if obtaining a roof over their head is even an option right now. The world is changing, which is fairly evident. Real estate and how the industry will operate henceforth will be altered too. We look to keep you informed as this fluid situation constantly changes. In the meantime, we’ve addressed some of the common questions we’ve received from our clients/customers.

Can I sell my home in this current climate?

If you’re thinking about selling your home immediately, understand that the present terrain in real estate has numerous roadblocks, which you’ll encounter in some way, shape or form. Can a home be sold momentarily? Yes, it’s possible, but realize tremendous assistance from the seller would probably be required in conjunction with the agent, while attempting to procure a buyer. This is a discussion you need to have with your REALTOR®.

Are there things I can be doing now to prepare to sell my home?

There are absolutely things which can be done now to prep your home to sell in the months to come. “Clearing out the clutter” should definitely be on the top of your list. Other strategies like painting, reorganizing, attacking problem areas of the home and landscaping should strongly be considered as well. Check out this page on our site, which will give you a few more ideas to consider. As a homeowner, you should contact your REALTOR® to come up with a plan for proceeding, as many sellers find themselves on the sidelines during this outbreak.

Should I look for a home now or wait?

There are multiple phases to the home search process. Prospective buyers typically start their search online months before they even physically enter a home (which is practically impossible since the outbreak of COVID-19). For the consumer who doesn’t have to move – wait. In the state of Pennsylvania, there are no in-person showings until further notice. Only services that a REALTOR® could offer remotely are permitted at this time. Of course, you can look at homes virtually through our extensive online catalog of properties available for sale in NEPA.

As a buyer if I decide to wait, what steps would you suggest I take so that I’m prepared for a time when in-person showings resume?

First and foremost, we would recommend setting up a “virtual” homebuyer consultation. If you have an agent, get in touch with them and discuss your needs. If you don’t have one yet, start your search there. Choosing a real estate professional is more important than one might think. Select the perfect agent for you! Secondly, reach out to mortgage lenders. Have a firm grasp on what you can and can’t afford, find ways to improve your credit score, if necessary, and look at the lending options available to you. Lastly, begin examining the market and what’s available in your price range. Create a list of pros and cons. Having a better understanding of these three dimensions can only propel you toward making better decisions when the time is right.

As homebuyers and sellers, can we engage in executing an agreement of sale during this unprecedented time?

Yes, but there’s so much that goes into making these types of decisions: Can I place an offer on a property I haven’t stepped foot in? Are there certain reasons I might want to press pause for the time being whether I’m buying or selling? We strongly suggest you discuss your concerns with your REALTOR® as well as your real estate attorney.

 

We hope this Coronavirus Q&A was helpful. Should you need further assistance, please reach out to our network of real estate professionals.

To say the Chinese Coronavirus (COVID-19) has affected our nation would be the understatement of the year, a year some wish would be over already. Unless you recently came out of a coma, you know the effects of this pandemic. Lately, Americans have grappled with a loss of certain freedoms caused from a seemingly invisible pathogen. It has impacted the way we work, how we travel (in some cases), how our households function and it certainly has affected our relationships in one way or another.

As a small business real estate firm, who supports the efforts of our clients and our REALTORS®, we understand firsthand how work, travel, household dynamics and relationships have been impacted since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic only ten days ago. Real estate, like so many industries, has been making changes in recent days through a paradigm shift in modes of communication and how they get business done. Since the World Health Organization has declared this disease a pandemic, we’ve taken more precautions, like so many businesses throughout our nation, including Pennsylvania, who have also done the same.

Honestly, real estate appears more trivial since we’ve been asked to hunker down. There are nurses, doctors, emergency personnel, volunteers and scientists, just to name a few on the frontlines. Their health is at risk as well as their loved ones. They certainly didn’t ask for this, but they’re compassion and sacrifice lead the way through this period of uncertainty. Having said that, real estate professionals are an essential link between homebuyers and sellers in their quest for finding a place they’ll call home. At Realty Network Group, connecting buyers and sellers, is our mission in four words. Yet we know through these challenging times, we need to safely operate within the confines of this contagion and administer the highest level of care and service we can reasonably provide to our clients and customers alike.

Guided by the Pennsylvania Association of REALTORS® (PAR), we’re proceeding with caution for the sake of our clients, their families in addition to our agents. For deals already under way, we’re also seeking the advice of counsel – time is of the essence. And that’s why PAR created the COVID-19 Addendum to the Agreement of Sale. Some situations may require a timeout in order to proceed safely through the transaction. This addendum permits these steps to be taken.

Many concerns have risen within our industry in less than two weeks. As of Wednesday (3/25) evening we have more concise guidelines from PAR: REALTORS® should “cease doing [all] in-person business” until Pennsylvania’s governor, Tom Wolf, informs otherwise. We know many sellers are left wondering how they might possibly assist their agents in selling their homes remotely. Prospective homeowners are skeptical about placing their property on the market right now. Buyers are looking at record-low mortgage rates, and depending on their situation, some are realizing there might never be a better time to buy – yes, even in a seller’s market. Though real estate sales have been robust amidst this outbreak, there has been increased caution as to how consumers should be proceeding through these unchartered waters. Our firm hopes to clarify some of these matters over the next few weeks as more information becomes available to us.

Above all, we would like to sincerely wish everyone in our community and in our world good health and safety as we move ahead in these unprecedented times. If you carry one thing with you, let it be hope. Should you need to contact any of our professionals, please do so here. We look forward to addressing more of your concerns as time goes by. Stay healthy!

Over a decade ago, the Great Recession was coming to an end. Mortgage lenders were beginning to tighten their requirements as they were sifting through the mess of an influx of foreclosures. Housing prices began to plummet. Millennials, anyone who was then ages 13 to 28, obviously didn’t have much of an impact on the housing market, many will still in school. Over the course of the past decade, home prices as well as the impact this generation has had on housing have steadily increased. The question remains though: What sort of effect have they had?

A recent article from Fortune written by Shawn Tully discusses the challenges millennials have encountered in recent years in a slightly volatile real estate market. Although housing experienced cheaper prices relative to the previous decade, millennials had little impact until two years ago. “[M]illennials had loads of college debt, and many had bad credit,” as the above mentioned cites. Until 2017, this generation became the “lost generation” when it came to home ownership. Last year, they made a big impression accounting for half of new homes sales. Now it appears with under-building in home construction, diminishing home affordability and rising rates on home loans, sales could be shifting back to more affluent buyers (Gen-Xers and baby boomers). We may once again witness a drop in homeownership rates for millennials.

This is concerning for the state of affairs in many markets throughout our nation: multiple locations such as California, Nevada, New York, Florida, just to name a few. The cost of housing has spiked so much in recent years that first-time homebuyers, many of which are millennials, don’t stand a chance. Yet, not all millennials are fighting this battle. In Northeastern Pennsylvania, the “lost generation” continues to be found in the first-time homebuyer market.

The Greater Scranton market presently carries with it an absorption rate of 6.34 year-to-date and 5.82 year-over-year (YOY) for December. Absorption rate is “the rate at which homes are selling in a specific area.” I bring this up, because this market is actually slipping into a seller’s market. Absorption rates between 6-9 (months of inventory) signal a balanced market, whereas rates between 3-6 indicate a normal seller’s market. Millennials are actually the catalyst. They’re buying up homes now.

Millennials, the largest generation in our country, lead the charge to homeownership and improved financial stability in Northeastern PA. As family formation increases in our area this year, we’ll see the effect this “lost generation” has on the growth of our local economy.