Latest Housing Stats: One York Area Posted 60 Percent Jump In Median Sale Price

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting York County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you sold a house in York during the first three months of the year, chances are good that you made a profit from the deal.

Between Jan. 1 and March 31, the median sale price of a home in the York City School District jumped 60 percent while the number of homes sold fell 10 percent, according to data released Thursday by the Realtors Association of York & Adams Counties.

Overall, during the first quarter, the median sale price for a home sold in York County climbed 4 percent from $135,000 in 2013 to $139,997 this year.

Read more: http://www.ydr.com/local/ci_25539459/one-area-posted-60-percent-jump-median-sale

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MCCC Fast Track PA Real Estate Salesperson Program Offered Fully Online

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Blue Bell/Pottstown, PA— Building on the success of its Fast Track Real Estate pilot program launched in January, Montgomery County Community College will incorporate even more flexibility when it offers Real Estate 101 and 102 again in May.

“We’re leveraging many of the College’s technology resources to maximize students’ time,” said Ayisha Sereni, administrative director of MCCC’s BEI division and a licensed Pennsylvania real estate broker.

According to Sereni, the College wants to help professionals get their start in real estate sales – a high priority occupation that, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is projected to grow by 12 percent through 2020.

To encourage participation, the May-start classes will be taught fully online, which differs from the hybrid format used in the pilot. Now, virtual meetings will take the place of face-to-face instruction in a classroom setting.

The fast track program can be completed in less than one month. Students who successfully complete the 30-hour Real Estate Fundamentals (RES 101) and Real Estate Practice (RES 102) courses are eligible to sit for the Pennsylvania Real Estate Salesperson Exam. Individuals who acquire their Pennsylvania Real Estate Salesperson License may seek employment as commissioned or salaried residential or commercial real estate agents, property managers, leasing agents or real estate assistants. Both courses must be completed prior to taking the exam.

Real Estate Fundamentals runs from May 8-20, and Real Estate Practice runs from May 27-June 5.

To learn more about MCCC’s Pennsylvania Real Estate Salesperson Pre-licensing Fast Track Program, email Ayisha Sereni at asereni@mc3.edu or call 215-641-6374.

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Court Documents: Sherman Hills Sale Price Tops $16M

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The current owners of the troubled Sherman Hills Apartments in Wilkes-Barre will receive more than $16 million should a proposed sale be finalized this month, according to court documents filed Tuesday in Luzerne County Court.

Family members of a murder victim are trying to block the sale or have the sale proceeds placed in escrow, claiming the sale of the low-income housing project would make the complex “judgement proof.”

On Tuesday, lawyers for Sherman Hills filed their response, saying the sale should be allowed to proceed.  The sales agreement was attached to the response and revealed Brooklyn, N.Y.-based Park Management, the complex’s owner, will be paid $16.2 million from the sale.

Survivors of murder victim Shantique Goodson, 27, fatally shot at the complex on Nov. 11, 2013, are seeking an injunction to block the sale, or place the sale proceeds in escrow, until the lawsuit plays out. A hearing on the matter is scheduled for Wednesday morning in Luzerne County Court.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/court-documents-sherman-hills-sale-price-tops-16m-1.1664522

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Bethlehem Revitalization Authority Readying For Applicants

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton C...

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Northampton County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Bethlehem Revitalization and Improvement Authority is accelerating efforts to hire consultants so it can start accepting development applications in the summer.

The authority is tasked with implementing Bethlehem’s City Revitalization and Improvement Zone, which is expected to create $587 million worth of development. Bethlehem received the state economic development designation late last year.

Similar to Allentown’s Neighborhood Improvement Zone, the zone allows state and local nonproperty taxes from new development in the zone to help finance construction within it.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/bethlehem/index.ssf/2014/03/bethlehem_revitalization_autho.html

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Miller’s Smorgasbord, Plain & Fancy And AmishView Offered For Sale

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Three major tourism businesses and their properties in eastern Lancaster County are for sale, it was announced Wednesday.

The businesses are Miller’s Smorgasbord, Plain & Fancy Farm and the AmishView Inn & Suites.

They employ a combined 280 people and post annual revenues exceeding $12 million.

“There will be a transition, but it doesn’t have to happen tomorrow,” said Al Duncan of Thomas E. Strauss Inc., which owns the businesses.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/business/local_business/miller-s-smorgasbord-plain-fancy-and-amishview-offered-for-sale/article_d0c5d524-a4b8-11e3-bfa2-0017a43b2370.html

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Bridgeport Addresses Issue Of ‘Amateur Landlords’

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

BRIDGEPORT, PA — Over the past year, many residents and landlords have complained at borough council meetings about overcrowding of and conditions at rental properties.

In response to these complaints, borough council has provided funds in the 2014 budget for a program to help resolve the issue of amateur landlords.

At its Feb. 11 meeting, council discussed hiring a third-party inspector to handle rental properties in the borough.

Read more: http://www.timesherald.com/general-news/20140214/bridgeport-addresses-issue-of-amateur-landlords

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Crafton Man Rehabs Worst-Looking House On Street

Map of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United ...

Map of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The parade of people who rented apartments in an old Crafton house aggravated Chuck Gigliotti, a longtime neighbor who lives across the street. After it became Section 8 housing in 2003, shingles fell off the roof regularly and loose bricks threatened to avalanche from a tall chimney. In 2006, Mr. Gigliotti watched from his home as two dozen police officers and a SWAT team broke down the door and arrested one man.

Finally, in March 2012, he bought the house at 24 Mildred St. for $18,900 and tackled his ninth property. His wife, Lindy, was not thrilled, but Mr. Gigliotti, 56, was ready for another challenge — rehabbing the worst-looking house on the street. He formed a company called Crafton Redux and hired three Triangle Tech graduates to restore the 1904 house that is a near mirror image of his own. Nearly two years later, they’re finished. The four-bedroom, 21/2-bath house is for sale for $220,000.

Mr. Gigliotti has a long history with old houses. At age 19, he joined the local carpenters union. Since 1988, he has been buying houses to remodel and resell. For six years, he was a glazier at Rex Glass in Robinson; for another six he was a self-employed remodeling contractor. Since 2010, he has taught carpentry at Triangle Tech.

Although he has done his share of working on roofs, he had no interest in going up on the high-pitched roof to remove the chimney. So, he cut a 16-inch hole in the wall of a third-floor bedroom and put a ladder through it. Gradually, he and his crew removed bricks, ending up with enough to build a 21/2-foot-wide walkway that parallels the property’s upper side.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/life/homes/2014/02/01/From-eyesore-to-model-home-Crafton-man-rehabs-worst-looking-house-on-street/stories/201402010031#ixzz2s5JQBTfp

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Dozens Turn Out To Hear About Possible York Artist-Housing Project

Map of York County, Pennsylvania, United State...

Map of York County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On Wednesday, Hardway was among the dozens who turned out to hear more about a possible artist-housing project in the city. A henna artist and trained vocalist, Hardway said she is intrigued by the idea of living among other creative people.

But, if the Artspace York project becomes a reality, Hardway wants to be sure its developers include accessibility in their plans — even if she’s not the one who benefits from it.

Hardway said she made that clear when she took a survey, which launched online Wednesday, to gauge the potential viability of a project in York.

Artspace is a Minneapolis-based nonprofit that formed in 1979 with the goal of providing long-term affordable housing for creative people.

Read more: http://www.yorkdispatch.com/breaking/ci_24972229/dozens-turn-out-hear-about-possible-york-artist?utm_source=hootsuite&utm_campaign=hootsuite

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Foreclosure Activity Surges Across Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Region

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metro...

Locator map of the Scranton-Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area in the northeastern part of the of . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Regional foreclosures advanced at the state’s highest percentage among metropolitan areas in 2013.

Property repossessions, home auction notices and mortgage default activity in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metro area soared by 60 percent, compared to 2012, according RealtyTrac, a Los Angeles-area company that tracks national foreclosure trends.

Foreclosures climbed in the area during all four quarters of the year and the annual increase was largest proportionately among state metro areas, RealtyTrac data show. York’s 32 percent increase was the second-largest jump.

The region experienced eight straight quarters of foreclosure declines before activity accelerated in the first quarter of 2013.

Read more: http://citizensvoice.com/news/business/foreclosure-activity-surges-across-region-1.1619761

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Town By Town: Abington Homes Offer Good Value

Map of Abington Township, Montgomery County, P...

Map of Abington Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One in a continuing series spotlighting real estate markets in the region’s communities.

If Abington can come up with more houses to sell next year, its reputation for affordability – combined with lower Federal Housing Administration mortgage limits – might result in a sales boom.

That’s the opinion of some real estate agents, including Cheryl Miller of Long & Foster’s Blue Bell office, who sells in this Montgomery County township known for its older houses, its hospitals, its 16 neighborhoods (or parts of neighborhoods), Willow Grove Park mall, and traffic that moves at a snail’s pace along Route 611.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/classifieds/real_estate/town-by-town/20131229_Town_By_Town__Abington_homes_offer_good_value.html#lgiIt7UHFKYC4zXt.99

Long-Planned Scranton Transit Center Makes Progress

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The transportation hub planned for downtown Scranton is making solid progress after years of delays and false starts.

The County of Lackawanna Transit System has received the go-ahead from the Federal Transit Administration to open negotiations for the acquisition of two properties needed as part of the $12.6 million intermodal transit center project, COLTS Executive Director Robert Fiume said.

In addition, the project design by Sowinski Sullivan Architects, Sparta, N.J., is 60 percent complete.

“Should things stay on track – and I don’t even know if I want to say this – but if they stay on track, it looks like we can break ground in April or May,” Mr. Fiume said.

His hesitation is understandable, given the project’s history.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/long-planned-transit-center-makes-progress-1.1593946

Birdsboro To Possibly Get A Grocery Store

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Birdsboro will be getting a new shopping center, and perhaps a grocery store.

M.B. Investments, a J.P. Mascaro & Sons business, signed an agreement of sale with St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, Birdsboro, to acquire 5 of the church’s 9 acres to build a small strip mall. The purchase price was not disclosed.

The cornerstone of the site at 5 Brooke Manor would be a 25,000-square-foot grocery and space for additional shops, according to Steve Lusky, Birdsboro borough councilman.

Lusky said he has worked with borough officials for several years to bring a small neighborhood center with a high-quality grocery to the community of about 5,100 people.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=519839

Scranton Mayor Proposes 56 Percent Property Tax Increase; 69 Percent Garbage Fee Hike

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With wary banks watching Scranton‘s finances closely, Mayor Chris Doherty today proposed a $130.5 million budget for 2014 that would dramatically raise real estate taxes, the garbage collection fee and parking-meter rates and penalties.

Read the budget HERE

A real estate tax increase of 56.7 percent would be one of the largest, if not the largest, tax hikes ever in the city. A trash collection fee increase of 68.5 percent – from the current $178 a year to $300 a year – would be the largest garbage fee hike ever.

The large spikes are all necessary to close a $20 million operating deficit for 2014 and restore the city’s creditworthiness with lenders, Mr. Doherty said.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/scranton-mayor-proposes-56-percent-property-tax-increase-69-percent-garbage-fee-hike-1.1586481

FOX29 Investigates Local Property Manager

FOX29 investigative reporter Jeff Cole interviews Katy Jackson, a Pottstown civic activist, while trying to get to the bottom of why Affinity Property Management Company, formerly located on High Street in downtown Pottstown, owes their clients thousands of dollars.  The office closed in May.

To watch this segment, click here: http://www.myfoxphilly.com/story/23939642/fox29-investigates-local-property-manager#.UoGxgbf9ra0.facebook

On The House: SEPTA Rail Lines Boost Suburban Home Prices, Study Finds

SEPTA logo with text

SEPTA logo with text (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Transit-oriented development is not new, especially to older metropolitan areas such as Philadelphia.

Whether in anticipation of the arrival of public transit or in its wake, homes and commercial enterprises have sprung up near rail stations, trolley stops, and subway entrances since 1858, with the advent of horse-car service on Fifth and Sixth Streets between Southwark and Kensington.

The first steam train began running from Philadelphia to Germantown in 1832, igniting a mass-transit boom that would dictate how and where the region would grow.

As rickety as public transit sometimes seems, this region still has an infrastructure that cities such as Los Angeles; Portland, Ore.; and Atlanta have spent billions trying to replicate to ease their dependence on the automobile.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/classifieds/real_estate/20131110_On_the_House__SEPTA_rail_lines_boost_suburban_home_prices__study_finds.html#dQrjgA3E9CWrv1xb.99

10 Best Cities In Pennsylvania

Map of Pennsylvania, showing major cities and ...

Map of Pennsylvania, showing major cities and roads (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  Some very surprising results, especially the tie for number 10! Two are in Montgomery County, two are in Chester County and two in Delaware County.

The real-estate company Movoto is searching out the best cities in each state, and says six of the top 10 Pennsylvania cities are in the Philadelphia region.

Movoto says it looks at criteria that include amenities, cost of living, crime, education, median income and home value to determine its rankings. Here are what the company says are the 10 best cities in Pennsylvania:

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/phillylists/10-best-cities-in-Pennsylvania.html#FbOpcUwPJtHbrC05.99

What The Avenue Of The Arts Has Meant To Center City Philadelphia Real Estate

English: The Ritz-Carlton Philadelphia.

English: The Ritz-Carlton Philadelphia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Banks moved out, theaters moved in, and – if the price of real estate in the neighborhood is any sign – things got a lot better around South Broad Street after the birth of the Avenue of the Arts.

Back in 1993, Peter C. Soens recalls, he sold the former Girard Bank building at Broad and Chestnut Streets, now home to the Ritz-Carlton, for $2 million.

Soon afterward, Soens, a partner at the commercial building broker and manager SSH Real Estate, sold One East Penn Square, across from City Hall, for $2.1 million.

By contrast, Soens said recently, “last year, 260 S. Broad St., a similar-sized building, also basically empty, sold for $27.5 million.” The buyer, Post Bros., says it will convert the former Atlantic office building to apartments.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20131028_What_the_Avenue_of_the_Arts_has_meant_to_city_real_estate.html#A0AAAizI3Fxq8j78.99

Investors Are Becoming Pittsburgh’s Biggest Home Buyers, Sellers

Locator map with the Mount Washington neighbor...

Locator map with the Mount Washington neighborhood in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania highlighted. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Joe Calloway has bought 39 homes this year in the city of Pittsburgh, mostly in south Pittsburgh communities such as South Side Flats, South Side Slopes, Arlington, Allentown, Beltzhoover and Mount Washington.

His Allentown company, RE 360, finds properties selling for below-market value, either by word of mouth, industry sources or courthouse auctions. He renovates about 20 percent of them for resale and rents the other 80 percent to city residents.

“The city of Pittsburgh is attractive to me because I grew up here,” he said. “I know the area, and it’s important to invest in what you know.”

While Mr. Calloway — who has purchased more than $1 million in single-family homes this year — is the largest buyer of investment real estate in the city, he is hardly alone. According to RealStats, a South Side-based real estate information service, real estate investors have bought 1,111 homes within the city limits so far this year for a total of $85.4 million.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/business/news/investors-are-becoming-pittsburghs-biggest-home-buyers-sellers-708060/#ixzz2i5m9hqt6

PEL: Scranton Faces $20 Million Deficit Next Year; Needs To Raise Taxes

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lackawanna County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Scranton city government’s budget outlook for next year continues to worsen as the city now faces a possible deficit of nearly $20 million for 2014, according to the city’s financial-recovery coordinator.

That state-appointed Act 47 coordinator, Pennsylvania Economy League, also urges the city to craft a “realistic and responsible” budget for next year that closes the structural deficit and lists as options unspecified hikes in both the real-estate (property) and earned-income (wage) taxes, and an increase in the city’s annual garbage fee.

“I think the letter speaks for itself,” Mr. Cross said in a phone interview. “It shows where the city is in terms of recovery-plan progress and shows the challenges that we always spoke of for 2014 being a challenging year.”

Read the letter here

City Business Administrator Gina McAndrew said the 2014 budget is in the works. She would not rule out any increases in taxes or fees but declined to say what may be under consideration.

Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/pel-scranton-faces-20-million-deficit-next-year-needs-to-raise-taxes-1.1566385

Massive Foreclosure Sale: 16 Office Buildings, $67M In Debt, Spanning 2 Counties

Locator map of the Harrisburg metro area in th...

Locator map of the Harrisburg metro area in the south central part of the of . Red denotes the Harrisburg-Carlisle Metropolitan Statistical Area, and yellow denotes the Lebanon Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Harrisburg-Carlisle-Lebanon CSA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sixteen office buildings, $67 million in debt.

It is a sprawling real estate portfolio, one that stretches from Mechanicsburg in the west to Lower Paxton Township in the east. And its all being put up for sale to the highest bidder in October, dramatically enough on the steps of the U.S. Federal Courthouse in Harrisburg.

The foreclosure sale – one of the largest, if not the largest in the midstate’s recent history – comes after a year-long, largely uncontested civil case in federal court, between one of the nation’s largest banks and a real estate company which serves as proxy for other, largely unknown investors.

The buildings include sites in Rossmoyne Business Park in Upper Allen Township, Interstate Drive in Susquehanna Township, and along Flank Drive in Lower Paxton, home to dozens of private businesses and several state agencies, including PEMA.

Reads more: http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/09/massive_foreclosure_scheduled.html#incart_m-rpt-2