A hot high-demand, low-supply market
One in a continuing series spotlighting real estate markets in the region's communities. In nearly a decade since the housing bubble burst in 2007, it has been rare for me to hear a real estate agent express unqualified enthusiasm for his market.
One in a continuing series spotlighting real estate markets in the region's communities.
In nearly a decade since the housing bubble burst in 2007, it has been rare for me to hear a real estate agent express unqualified enthusiasm for his market.
The exception is Gary Segal, of Keller Williams Realty in Blue Bell.
"I can sum up the market in Plymouth . . . in just three words: hot, hot, hot!"
"It is unbelievable," Segal says of the situation in this easy-access-to-everywhere Montgomery County township within fairly close reach of the Philadelphia line.
"Right now, there are just 27 homes for sale - that's it," he says, in a municipality with 6,703 housing units.
There are 25 pending sales (houses under contract), and deals for 195 houses closed in the last 12 months, he says. What's more, because of the shortage of inventory, "the last four deals we did were multiple offers," Segal says.
The roaring market of Plymouth Township is not resounding in most of the other communities surrounding it, except for Conshohocken, "where the prices tend to be a little bit higher," he says.
If that statement doesn't offer more than a hint of the reasons for Plymouth Township's hotness, maybe we should spell them out for you: Affordable housing. Location. School district.
"An unbelievable location, near the Mid-County Interchange, with access to King of Prussia and Philadelphia," Segal says.
The interchange, Pennsylvania's largest, connects Interstate 276, Interstate 476, West Germantown Pike, and Plymouth Road a short distance from Plymouth Meeting Mall.
The Colonial School District, which serves Plymouth and Whitemarsh Townships and the Borough of Conshohocken, has nearly 5,000 students. U.S. News & World Report ranks it fifth in Montgomery County, 25th in Pennsylvania, and 1,136th of 20,000 school districts nationally.
Plymouth "is even hotter than Conshohocken," where Keller Williams opened a Fayette Street satellite of the Blue Bell office in November 2014 because, Segal says, "we were doing so much business."
The average price of a house in inventory-starved Plymouth is about $318,000, he says.
The median price in the third quarter was $334,000, according to Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach Realtors HomExpert Market Report, which uses data from Trend Multiple Listing Service.
HomExpert lists 58 sales here in the third quarter.
Comparing Plymouth with the two other communities in the Colonial district, Conshohocken's median for the quarter was $300,000 on 49 sales, while Whitemarsh's was $400,000 on 71 sales.
Though Whitemarsh tends to have larger homes on more land, Conshohocken's old housing stock near its border with Plymouth is comparable to that community, he says.
Segal cites low taxes as another big draw to Plymouth for younger and first-time buyers.
There are a few million-dollar listings here - they aren't selling very quickly, which is not unusual in many suburbs.
"The highest price in the last year was $705,000, and it was one of our listings," Segal says: a 4,000-square-foot house in an upscale neighborhood that is about 20 years old.
Although one might expect average days on the market to be low here because of the dearth of supply, "it is about 60 days," Segal says, explaining that "overpriced houses that sit on the market for a year tend to push up the average."
A lot of residents would like to move up to larger houses within the township, but the low inventory means that anything priced right that goes on the market is snapped up faster than the time it takes the seller to find another home, he says.
Most houses here were built in the 1950s and 1960s - "upper-end homes were built a little after that," he says.
There isn't much space left to build in Plymouth Township, Segal says.
Demand for these older houses is a counterpoint to the goal of most buyers today to purchase perfection at a low price.
"There is more tolerance because of the supply shortage," he says. "These buyers are willing to put in the work - even adding a second story - to get want they want."