Real Estate Broker/Owner with Corman Home Sales & Property Management RM422264

I saw a headline in the newspaper today that the "Sale of Existing Single Family Homes in 2007 Sees Largest Drop Since 1982".  It was an Associate Press article in our local paper.   While I agree that MAY be the case in an average across the country or perhaps just in pockets, it is certainly NOT the case here in Centre County.  In addition, while we may not be at the BOOM level seen in 2005, we are now at what most of us call back to "normal" levels seen earlier in this new century, not back to the level of sales seen back in 1982!

As you will see below, we here in Centre County have stayed fairly level.  I'll get into the reason for this later.  While I am not normally a "stat" kind of girl, let me share some numbers with you.  Plus I've provided a couple of graphs below.  (All numbers are provided by the multiple listing service of the Centre County Association of REALTORS).  Our MLS is broken down into school districts all within Centre County.  They are State College (SC), Bellefonte (BF), Bald Eagle (BE), Penns Valley (PV) and Philipsburg-Osceola (PO).

The difference between our total residential markets in 2006 versus 2007 is a sale of 2 units less in '07.  TWO!  Whew!  A crash to the market two units does NOT make!  While SC area was down from 955 to 906, the rest of the county was up.  BF from 269 to 283; BE from 69 to 83; PV from 71 to 79; and PO from 88 to 99.

The truly interesting thing to note is that the average listing AND selling prices have risen in ALL areas of Centre County.  I know some like to talk Median versus Average.   So I'll tell you that while the median price dropped in the PV area, all other areas are up.

The other two stats agents and consumers like to take a view to see what the real estate market is doing are Days on the Market (DOM) and average list to sales price percentage.  While the DOM is longer in all areas, not one is by more than 19 days.  The list to sales price ratio is UP in BE and BF and DOWN in SC and PO by less than a percentage point in each.  PV is down by just a tad bit more.

The reason for this phenomenon: Mainly, it's because State College is also the home of University Park and Penn State University's (PSU) main campus.  Because of PSU being located here, we also have a good number of corporations and industry which feeds off them.  While over the years we have seen some of them (some small, some big) close their doors and/or move out of town and people in the area lost jobs because of it, there is enough other industry either growing or moving into town which mostly absorb those numbers over time.  Plus, (and I may be a little biased here) I think Centre County is just a nice place to live and work!!  I'll come back later and offer some additional reasons you should be checking out Centre County for your next home or investment! 

In closing, while the national news will continue to state how bad the housing market is - and I know it is bad in some places around the country - I urge you to contact a REALTOR/Agent in the area where you plan to buy/sell to find out exactly what is happening in that local market.  It may surprise you!

06-07 numbers 

AreaUnits Closed% Total MarketDollar VolumeAverage List PriceAverage Sale PriceAvg % List Price ReceivedMedian Sale PriceAverage DOM
Bald Eagle694.30%$7,836,829 $116,906 $113,577 97%$115,50061
Bellefonte26916.80%$46,701,194 $176,820 $173,610 98%$165,00072
Philipsburg Oceola885.50%$7,629,759 $90,676 $86,702 96%$74,92580
Penns Valley714.40%$11,926,941 $172,277 $167,985 98%$146,00068
State College95559.50%$227,186,964 $242,421 $237,892 98%$201,20048
All1,452.$301,281,687 $159,820 $155,953.20 98%.65.8

07-08 Centre County numbers

AreaUnits Closed% Total MarketDollar VolumeAverage List PriceAverage Sale PriceAvg % List Price ReceivedMedian Sale PriceAverage DOM
Bald Eagle835.2%$10,516,420 $130,204 $126,704 97.3%$128,000 68
Bellefonte28317.6%$52,922,666 $190,009 $187,006 98.4%$173,000 86
Philipsburg Oceola996.2%$8,791,694 $92,900 $88,805 95.6%$75,000 99
Penns Valley794.9%$13,221,830 $173,820 $167,365 96.3%$142,000 72
State College90656.5%$220,128,935 $248,943 $242,968 97.6%$210,000 69
All1,450.$305,581,545 $167,175$162,57097.25%.79



Comments (8)

Thomas Santore Lic Associate Real Estate Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty/Coldwell Banker Commercial NRT - Yorktown Heights, NY
Realtor®-ABR-Land, Residential & Commercial Sa
we need more people talking about the good sales than we are getting. Keep It Up
Jan 25, 2008 05:51 AM
Eric L. Cutler
Keller Williams - Greenville, NC
Yes they are local!!!  Good post I hope buyers in your area find it!
Jan 25, 2008 05:53 AM
Mandee Davis
Prudential First Choice Realty - State College, PA
Those are some nice graphs!  It would be interesting to see how other markets in the US compare from last  year to this year. Especially other college towns!  Good post!
Jan 25, 2008 05:58 AM
Melissa Corman Sieg
Corman Home Sales & Property Management - State College, PA

Tom - thanks for the positive comment - You are right - we do need more people talking about the positive side of the market!

Eric - Thanks!  I hope they find it also!  I'm still trying to figure ways to get local folks to AR.....

Mandee - Thanks - I have to admit it was my wonderful assistant/client coordinator who created the graphs for me!  :-)

I would love to hear from others who do business in college towns to see how their markets are fairing!

Jan 25, 2008 06:20 AM
Maureen McCabe
HER Realtors - Columbus, OH
Columbus Ohio Real Estate

I met you on ActiveRain over the phrase "real estate is local" when China Moon Howell dared to utter it on the Zillow forums in a post about Madison WI, another college town. As I recall her post on Zillow linked to a story in the NYT (?) about how college towns are weathering the market. 

Our local boards stats and the Ohio Association stats for 2007 were issued to the local media on Thursday.  Friday they provided it to the membership (backwards to me!) 

I wish Columbus was  just down two sales... but we are better than our state, percentage wise.  It is great looking at the state info for how the smaller MLS's near us have done (increases in price in some markets.)

Recently on one of my blogs I did a real quick and dirty article pointing to the newspaper column written by the President of the real estate company I work for.  He said in it "real estate is local"  which made me think of your post about China Moon and Zillow forums.

Jan 25, 2008 09:48 PM
Melissa Corman Sieg
Corman Home Sales & Property Management - State College, PA

HI Maureen! - I do remember you from the comments posts regarding my blog regarding Zillow and the attacack on China Moon Howell.

I agree that it's a shame the state association didn't send the report to their members first and THEN the newspapers.  I wish local papers, including mine, would do a better job of reporting LOCAL news.  For instance, when the article I refer to in my blog came to our local paper via the Associated Press about the national market, why couldn't one of the local reporters have contacted our local association or at the very least one or two of the brokers of larger companies in town to ask what the local market is like.  They could have run the national article with a "shadow box" or something close to it saying - here is how our local market is faring in comparison.....  one of my many frustrations and pet peeves in life!  Aha!  Perhaps a subject for another blog!?!?

Anyway - glad to hear things in Columbus are not as bad (is that the right way to word it?) as they are in other parts of the state of Ohio.  It would be an interesting comparison, in that PSU is, by far, the major employer in State College and Centre County.  Without the college and the industry that feeds off the college, the town would NOT be what it is!  Given the size of Columbus, is that the case with Ohio State University?  Perhaps that is why although better than most areas around the rest of the state, your area is still down while we have stayed fairly level??  Just a question.....and food for thought?  :-)

Take care!

Jan 25, 2008 11:51 PM
Maureen McCabe
HER Realtors - Columbus, OH
Columbus Ohio Real Estate

Columbus is also the state capital... lots of govt. employment above and beyond OSU.  We have a lot of insurance industry in the area (Nationwide Insurance based in Columbus.)  We are a transportation hub... we have retailing based here, all of the Limited Stores, A & F. We don't have much manufacturing in Central Ohio in a state which as a whole has lots of manufacturing, of course the transportation (of goods) must be down when the manufacturing industry is down.

I think our local board is very good in working with the local media.  I think a board has to be proactive, get a news release out to the local media. OAR and CBR seem to have a handle on getting the local info to the media and of course more people are going to see that than my itty bitty blog but gee I think even if you aren't blogging you should not read as a Realtor what is going on from your trade organization first. 

I think with cut backs at papers running a wire story with out the local take is easy.  We still see that too of course... or hear it on the news!  I have never been one to yell at the TV (sports etc.) but when the local new runs a RE story that just is not true in our market I talk to the TV now.

Blog about your pet peeve.  Post market info (on AR or another blog that Google loves)  and they will be contacting you if they have the resources to do local news, in the local paper  If not YOUR blog is going to be out there for local people... and they will find it.  


Jan 26, 2008 12:15 AM
Melissa Corman Sieg
Corman Home Sales & Property Management - State College, PA

How dumb of me!  Of course, Columbus is the state capital - I wasn't thinking when I asked what other industry was in the area - duh!  :-)   I can see your market is affecting by many things in your area.  The State College AREA (not just the town) has a population of roughly 80,000 - of which about half are students!  That should give you an idea of how much we rely on the university!

Our association is also good at working with the local media.  Unfortunately, we are a one newspaper town so no competition breeds laziness from time to time on local issues - at least in my humble opinion.  In 2007, the leadership of our association along with our marketing committee met with all the various local media for lunch (radio, newspaper, magazines, tv, etc.) to talk about what we can all do together to make certain the community is informed on local issues..... I hope that is the beginning of us working together better...... we'll see.

Sorry, but I'm one who talks to the TV pretty regularly - sometimes I'm yelling at my favorite teams' quarterback asking what the heck he was thinking; sometimes I'm asking the news anchor what the heck are they talking about; and sometimes I'm asking the latest political candidate to stop telling me all the things you think I want to hear and just speak from the heart and tell me what you really think!  :-)

See you around the rain!

Jan 26, 2008 01:29 AM