Should Buyers Head To Chester County

By Jennifer Riner, Trulia

Lack of inventory, specifically in the starter home segment, is hurting homeownership dreams for many entry-level buyers. While fewer homes on the market in a specific area is typically representative of heightened demand, prices don’t always jump in response. Some smaller markets see a drop in the number of entry-level homes without the usual price uptick.

In Chester County, just outside of Philadelphia, the number of starter homes dropped from 2,418 to 2,005 over the past year. Although a 17.1 percent drop in inventory seems steep, prices didn’t respond in their usual fashion. In fact, the median price of starter homes in Chester County actually dropped .5 percent during the same period. Chester County is now the seventh in markets where falling inventory doesn’t matter.

So where are some of the best towns in Chester County for entry-level buyers? Check out the following.

Chester Springs

The median sales price in Chester Springs is $440,000, or an increase of 4 percent year-over-year. Trulia’s data shows that within two bedroom homes (a typical starter size), prices dipped 6.4 percent since 2015. Last year, the median sales price for a two bedroom in Chester County was $235,000. Currently, two bedroom homes in Chester Springs cost $220,000.

Pottstown

Being a relatively affordable area near Philadelphia, Pottstown draws entry-level homebuyers. The median sales price is currently $180,000 for all home types, which is a 13 percent increase since last year. Although all home sizes increased in median sales price, three bedrooms moved minimally. Last year, the median price for three bedroom homes in Pottstown was just $148,000. Today, it’s $153,149 – or an increase of just 3.5 percent. In comparison, two bedroom homes and four bedroom homes in Pottstown increased 26.5 and 57.3 percent, respectively.

Phoenixville

Good news for homebuyers near Phoenixville – overall median price dropped 6 percent year-over-year. The majority of home size categories experienced median price drops, with one bedrooms moving the most dramatic. One bedrooms dropped 63.6 percent to reach a median price of $116,250. Two bedroom homes in Phoenixville dipped 13.3 percent to reach $176,000, and three bedrooms fell 1.7 percent to $239,950. Despite many decreases, four bedroom homes in Phoenixville increased slightly by 8.8 percent, hitting $435,000.

Although Chester Springs and Pottstown increased in price overall, not all home sizes are necessarily getting more expensive. A closer peek into the rising median values reveals many entry level homes are actually dropping in price. In Phoenixville, most home sizes are dropping – which is great for buyers looking to expand, as well.

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