Philly area housing boom slowing
From the Philadelphia Inquirer:
Some home buyers are walking away from deals, forfeiting thousands of dollars in deposits. Home builders are offering special discounts and incentives. And the number of existing homes for sale is climbing in the Philadelphia region and around the country.
Just about everywhere, evidence of a sharp slowdown is piling up in the once-booming housing industry.
Some housing experts have said they expect the Philadelphia area to be spared the worst of a housing slump, primarily because the region did not boom as wildly as other areas of the nation earlier this decade and had fewer speculators. Buyers in the Philadelphia area also were, on average, conservative in mortgage choices - which means they avoided interest-only loans when possible, according to trade figures.
But recent data show the market is not immune to national trends. The number of existing houses for sale in the eight-county Philadelphia region climbed almost 40 percent in the first six months of this year, or 11,784 homes, to 41,389 when compared with the same six months in 2005, according to the HomExpert Market Report from Prudential Fox & Roach Realtors.
The number of houses sold in the eight counties fell in the first six months of 2006, with the sharpest plunge in Bucks County.
We've got more homes on the market now than we have in the past 10 years," said Haley De Stefano, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker in Mullica Hill, Gloucester County.
A few years ago, the mad dash to buy made it harder for real estate agents to show homes, said De Stefano. "Two, three years ago, if I tried to set up appointments to show 10 homes, inevitably eight of them were already under contract," said De Stefano. "Now if I go to set 10 appointments, probably nine of them are available."
Manuel Morales recently cut the price of his Mount Laurel home to $649,000 from $674,000 and offered to contribute $5,000 toward closing costs.