At The Upper End of the Market, The City’s Hot and the Suburbs Lukewarm

An analysis of 2016 sales data shows that owners of high-end properties in the city did very well when they sold them. In the suburbs, the news wasn't quite as good.

Salkes of upper-end homes in tghe city | TREND image via BHHS Fox & Roach

Over the course of the year now drawing to a close, owners of upper-end homes in the city have cleaned up relative to their suburban cousins, selling their homes quicker and getting more money for them.  | TREND image via BHHS Fox & Roach

It turns out that 2016 has been a very good year for owners of homes selling for $500,000 or more in Philadelphia. Owners of similar homes in the suburbs, on the other hand, didn’t fare as well.

At least that’s what the numbers said to Addison Wolfe Real Estate broker Donetta Crane when she examined the sales data reported on the TREND regional multiple listing service through Dec. 9.

More than 10,000 homes were listed for sale at prices of $500,000 or more in 2016 in the five Southeastern Pennsylvania counties. Crane’s analysis found that the highest percentage of homes sold and the highest average selling price both belonged to Philadelphia. Of the 1,913 upper-end homes put on the market this year, 1,104, or 57.7 percent, were sold at an average selling price of $817,743 after sitting on the market for an average of 70 days, the shortest days-on-market interval of the five counties.

Upper-end home sales by the numbers in Southeastern Pennsylvania, 2016 | Graphic: Addison Wolfe Real Estate

Upper-end home sales by the numbers in Southeastern Pennsylvania, 2016 | Graphic: Addison Wolfe Real Estate

The busiest months for listings in four of the five counties were in the early spring: March in Bucks, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties, and April in Delaware and Philadelphia counties. May was the busiest month for listings in Chester County. Closings ran strongest in June in Chester, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties and in August in Bucks, Chester and Delaware counties.

Crane said that the upper half of the Southeastern Pennsylvania housing market was on an upswing in general. “There’s been gradual improvement over the three-year period,” she said. “Things started to get better in 2014, then last year, they really improved, maybe because we had such a mild winter and didn’t have that usual January-February lag. And 2016 was better than 2015.”

Crane’s anecdotal assessment matches the numbers. “I’m in the suburbs, but I have friends who work in Philly, and they say it seems to be a very hot market right now,” she said. (Addison Wolfe focuses on homes in Bucks County and nearby areas.) “I don’t know whether it’s because of people returning to the inner city, or because of the advantages of walking, or something else.”

Average sale prices didn’t shoot up all that much over last year, she said.

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