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Central Pennsylvania Real Estate Sales Report January 2010

by Don Roth

As we enter the second week of February 2010, there seems to be one subject besides real estate and that is global warming; and that debate whether there is global warming continues incessantly. Who is right or who is wrong on this issue will be determined in the future. With respect to real estate, I think that I am more right than wrong with my opinions in the past and what I see going forward, at least in the Central Pennsylvania marketplace. Comparing January 2009 with January 2010, the number of sales have decreases by 14%, and I know that does not look like a rebounding market that I have characterized in previous letters. But I will say that we experienced a similar result when comparing January 2008 and 2009, and we still were down for the year 2009, though not anywhere near the January numbers and I still anticipate that 2010 will be a positive year, although only slightly. And the January average sales price comparison is much improved over 2009 albeit down 7%.

Why didn’t we see more of an improvement or a continuation of the progress in the latter part of 2009? Three factors: 1) being that the Home Buyer Tax Credit extension didn’t occur until mid November, 2): the holiday season was upon us and in many instances buyers have traditionally slowed down their buying habits during December and January; 3) the weather, need I say anything more after 30+ inches of snow within the last five days!!

Moving forward, what is the most likely scenario that I anticipate? We will see a slow improvement in the number of home sales in the area and a slight increase in the average sales price as we go through 2010. Part of the increase will be due to the tax credit that presently has a date of April 30, 2010, in which buyers can qualify for the tax credit and with a closing date of June 30, 2010. I have been asked about an extension beyond April of this year and my response is that anything is possible in Washington, DC, but it is highly unlikely. Improvement will also come from buyers who do not want to rent any longer, sellers that want to either downsize or need a larger home and those who want to take advantage of the low mortgage interest rate that we continue to experience and we all should be aware that the low interest rate environment cannot continue forever. As I said in one of my recent posts, a 1% difference on a mortgage rate can increase your mortgage payment by almost $90.00 a month on a mortgage of $150,000. Yes, things will improve on a slow and steady pace, and when we see an overall increase in the economic climate the activity will improve even more, but do not anticipate a return to three or four years ago with substantial price appreciation because it is not going to happen.

It is my intent to give you the best of what I see in the market in order to assist you in making a real estate purchase; and please remember each sale is different even though there may be two homes that are exactly alike. Such factors as condition and buyer or seller motivation are two that come to mind. So if you are considering a purchase or a sale please contact me at or visit my web site and view the search listings tab. Hope that we can say that the past week has been a global warming anomaly and we will see plenty of sunshine for a while.


Average Sales Price
West Shore
School District
January 2009
January 2010
Days on Market
Camp Hill
Cumberland Valley
West Shore
East Shore
Central Dauphin
Derry Township
$ 59,094
$  60,815
Lower Dauphin
Steel High
$ 60,950
$ 64,555
Susquehanna Township

Don Roth begins term as PAR President

by Don Roth

Don Roth begins term as PAR president
Friday, January 29, 2010
By Kim Shindle

Don Roth

From left: Barb Roth, Don Roth and Jim Helsel
(Photo credit: Stuart Leask)

Donald D. Roth was installed as the 2010 president of PAR at the annual Inaugural Banquet held Tuesday evening in Harrisburg.

Roth, a REALTOR® from Harrisburg, was sworn into office by NAR Treasurer James L. Helsel Jr., also a PAR past president.

“I’m humbled, honored and excited to have this special opportunity to lead PAR in this challenging time. I will make our association a better one in the coming year,” Roth said.

Roth said association members will face many challenges in 2010 including regulatory, legislative, business and consumer expectations. He said the association has many ongoing projects it will focus on in the coming year including the Community Reinvestment Project (CORE), the statewide housing trust fund, educational requirements and cultural diversity outreach.

“The times have changed and we will continue to change to meet the changes in our industry,” he added.

Pennsylvania Rep. Sue Helm (R-Dauphin), Glen Grell (R-Cumberland) and Ron Marsico (R-Dauphin) made a special presentation to Roth on behalf of the House of Representatives during the evening’s festivities.

Outgoing PAR President Gregory Herb thanked members for the opportunity to serve as president. He reminded them, “Never has your PAR membership been more valuable than it is today.”

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

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