Real Estate Information Archive


Displaying blog entries 1-3 of 3

Don Roth to serve as PAR president

by Don Roth

Don Roth to serve as PAR president
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
By Kim Shindle

“Changing with the Times” will be the mission of Donald D. Roth as he becomes the 87th president of the PA Association of REALTORS®. His theme will direct the association’s focus to the new issues facing REALTORS®.

Don Roth

Don Roth, PAR Presudent

“Our industry is going through an evolution. We’ve seen boom times and now we’re going through a substantial correction,” Roth said. “PAR has to be responsive to its members. We’re a source of information and we want to continue to provide tools for our members to better serve their clients.”

Roth spent 20 years in the financial industry before becoming a REALTOR® nearly 20 years ago. A REALTOR® with Prudential Homesale Services Groups, he primarily works in the residential market in the greater Harrisburg area.

While Pennsylvania has weathered the difficult economic climate and remained fairly stable, the market has seen a slight increase toward the end of 2009, Roth said. “We’ve seen some improvement in the market since September. More homes are being sold, although most of them are in the lower price range,” he added.

Roth said PAR task forces will continue to work on issues like climate change, educational requirements and appraisal management companies. In addition, a new task force will be appointed to help outline the goals of the new Community Reinvestment Project (CORE), a new PAR cooperative program.

Legislative issues that could affect the real estate industry in the upcoming year will continue to be assessed, Roth said. “Issues like the real estate transfer tax (RTT), reassessments, zoning, point-of-sale requirements all affect how we do business. We want to be at the table to make recommendations to the legislative bodies,” he added.

Roth will be sworn in on Tuesday, Jan. 26 at PAR’s Winter Business Meetings in Harrisburg.

About Kim:
Kim Shindle is the Communications Specialist at the Pennsylvania Association of REALTORS®.

With the beginning of the New Year, many potential home buyers should make a resolution to purchase a home and have the ability to take advantage of the Home Buyer Tax Credit. Extended by Congress in 2009, this credit is available to buyers who sign a purchase contract before April 30, 2010 and settle on the home prior to June 30, 2010.

There are two eligibility categories designated by the Tax Credit Law:

  1. First Time Home Buyers. Defined as a buyer that has not owned a home for the past three years and the credit is up to $8000 or 10% of the purchase price of the home. The income restrictions are $125,000 for a single buyer and $225,000 for a couple purchasing the home. One of the more attractive conditions of the law is that the credit is truly a credit with no repayment provisions as long as you own the home for three years. If you sell prior to the anniversary, the total credit amount must be repaid.
  2. Current Home Owners who may want to purchase a home. The credit is $6500, and the home being purchased must be the buyers’ permanent residence. If a buyer wants to continue to own the home they are currently residing in, that is allowed, but again the home being purchased must be the new residence and be occupied by the buyer. One other condition in this category is that the buyer must have lived in their previous residence for five consecutive years of the last eight years. The other conditions that pertain to the First Time Home Buyers are similar.

Why is this credit so important? One of the reasons Congress extended the credit is to stimulate the housing market in the beginning of 2010. Also, with prices of homes in many areas of the country at or below previous levels it is anticipated that buyers can purchase a home at an attractive price and possibly give current homeowners the opportunity to do the same. And with mortgage interest rates still at an attractive level, possibly provide more purchasing power to a buyer.

This bill passed by Congress is the third version of the Home Buyer Tax Credit and from everything that I have seen or read Congress is not likely at this time to provide any further extensions in the future. Naturally, with any specific tax questions, it is highly recommended that you talk to a tax professional. And if you have any questions concerning available real estate for sale in the Greater Harrisburg area, please contact me at

Happy New Year to all. As I report on the real estate market in the region, I think most of us know that to say that it was a challenging year would be an understatement. In many of the areas throughout the U.S., the real estate market continues to be under siege. In Pennsylvania and especially the Greater Harrisburg area, we have fared much better, and there are signs that stabilization and improvements in the market are becoming a reality. When comparing 2009 to 2008, we saw the number of homes sold decrease by 44 sales, which is a very minor percentage in the real estate market. Yes, the average sales price of homes declined by approximately 5% when compared to 2008, but the month to month decline in sales prices was most significant in the earlier months of 2009.

Why do I anticipate an improvement for 2010? Well, one reason is that interest rates are still very attractive, although there is every indication that mortgage interest rates will climb higher as we go through 2010. The impact on mortgage payments is evidenced below for a $150,000 mortgage amortized over 30 years.

Interest Rate Monthly Principle & Interest Payment
5% $805.23
5.5% $856.68
6% $899.33


Pretty substantial increase in the cost of a mortgage, isn’t it? We can say it is only a 1% increase in rates, but is actually a 20% increase in the cost of your housing payment. Something to keep in mind is that a rate increase has the effect of reducing the price of a home a buyer could afford. But there is still more positive news for the real estate market. First of all, the first time home buyers credit of up to $8000 is still available for contracts written by April 30, 2010 and closed by June 30, 2010. Also, the other home buyer credit of $6500 is also available under the same time guidelines (more about that in a separate article). Second, there is plenty of quality, well priced homes available for sale, and in my opinion, the asking prices for homes to a great extent is more in line with the market expectations at this time. Maybe I see the glass half full, but I do expect more positive real estate news being disseminated in the coming months; at least in our area.

Average Sales Price: 2008 vs 2009
West Shore
School District
Days on Market
Camp Hill
Cumberland Valley
West Shore
East Pennsboro
East Shore
Central Dauphin
Derry Township
Lower Dauphin
Steel High
Susquehanna Township


As we can see, the average sales price in some areas differ from year to year. Although I did not drill through the numbers, my opinion is that there have not been as many expensive homes that have sold. With the availability of the tax credit in 2009, many buyers took advantage of that, and in many cases, we had a higher number of those homes selling in 2009. Also, we did not escape the foreclosure and short sale experience in the area, but the impact was substantially smaller than in other areas of the country. No one likes to see those types of transaction, but unfortunately that is the world we live in right now and those transactions will have some impact on our market going forward.

Lastly, VA and FHA loans are having a bigger impact on the market, partially due to the credit crisis and also because of the changing lending environment we are experiencing. The percentage of those loans went from 22% in 2008 to 36% in 2009. These are still quality loan products and they do not have the negative connotation from previous years. If you would like more specific information on any area, please contact me at 717-579-2879 or email at And if you would like to search available homes for sale please go to and click on the search button. Again, wishing you all a Happy and Prosperous New Year.

Displaying blog entries 1-3 of 3