Current Affairs

Are Smaller Homes En Vogue?

Home small home

Demand for huge houses is waning. It seems that the average house being built in the third quarter of 2008 was 2,438 square feet, down to almost the size demanded in 2005. Several factors have gathered in what seems like a perfect storm in the housing industry...a rising environmental consciousness, a struggling real estate market and economic pressures on household budgets, all contribute to new attitudes regarding our homes. People are starting to really take stock as to what is important and what can easily be maintained and paid for over the long term and downsizing their housing requirements.

This article, on The Simple Dollar, reveals such self-reflection, assessment and prioritization:

"...the square footage shouldn’t be the primary factor when choosing a house. Although there are times when it feels good to have room to spread out, most of the space is completely unused most of the time (except for storage of things we probably don’t really need to keep). Even more important, choosing a lower square footage usually means much less expense over the long haul - you don’t really lose living space, but you do lose storage space, which means that you can’t accumulate as much stuff, which thus means you’ve got less money invested in material items that are just tossed into storage."

I imagine that many future home buyers will be similarly taking a hard look at what they really need. Also, I imagine many current home owners are re-evaluating their needs as well. The age of practicality is here.

This is good news for the Pocono real estate market. We have plenty of modest-sized housing available. The homes built for vacation use in the 1980's and 90's may experience a shift in demand by primary home-buyers (in addition to the steady supply of vacation home buyers) once again. Perhaps first time home buyers will once again start buying small and 'move up' as the household needs change, like our parents and grandparents did...allowing the natural growth of home equity fund their eventual purchase of 'the dream home,' starting small and graduating to something bigger the good old fashioned way. Yes, this is good for the real estate market and the socio-economic health of our area in general. After all, financially stable households require less support from the community. Less pressure to pay that huge housing expense may mean commuting to New York City for higher wage work is not as critical for all breadwinners in the house, allowing for more time to focus on household and family needs.

How much house do you really need?

New PA Contractor Registration Law

SB100 is here. Under this new consumer protection law, all home improvement contractors must register with the State of Pennsylvania by July 1, 2009. Yes, this means you: landscapers, handypeople, roofers, remodellers, etc. If you earn $5,000 per year or more from your home improvement business, you qualify.

This new law not only requires registration with the state but also includes regulation of the contracts that contractors use for jobs over $500. It also establishes criminal penalties for home improvement fraud. Here is the summary from the Attorney General's Office. This link also contains information for consumers with a home improvement dispute.

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The Pocono Builders Association is hosting a Presentation by Louis Biacchi of the Pennsylvania Builders Association. This will cover an overview of the Home Improvement Contractor Registration Law (SB100) in order to properly prepare home improvement & repair businesses for the changes coming July 1st.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Pocono Township Fire Hall
Route 611, Tannersville, PA
4pm - 6pm

Free for PBA Members
$25 Non-members

Contact: 570.421.9009 or

A Positive Bit of Economic News for Pennsylvania


Sunshine & Blue Skies (Kinda)

Less than 1% of households in Pennsylvania were affected by bankruptcy and/or foreclosure in 2008. According to statistics compiled on MSN Money, the Keystone State is faring better than 35 other states in the country.

PA has been affected by the economy, of course, but we've not been big players in the bubble and subsequent burst seen in some other states. Our real estate growth has been of the slow and steady variety. This is not to say that we aren't experiencing a challenging real estate market, because we are. But our prospects are much brighter here than in many other places.

What Does This Mean For The Pokies?

Here in the Poconos, we are in the unique position of relying on factors in other states to drive our market. New Jersey (#14 on the list) and New York (#33 on the list) feed us with home buyers looking for properties which offer a good commuting location for primary residences, as well as vacation home purchasers looking for weekend getaways. So we will be keeping a close eye on employment numbers going forward. However, even as we are affected by outside influences a little more than in other areas of the state, we remain, along with the rest of Pennsylvania, a much less volatile market than the (imaginary) 'national real estate market' depicted on the news.

Real estate is local <period>

What do you think?

Market Statistics for the Monroe County Poconos

A comparison of sales data from January 1 - November 18 for the years 2007 and 2008:

There are currently 2,591 homes (single-family,residential properties) listed for sale, which is a 19 months' supply based on this year's absorption rate. 261 homes are under contract, awaiting settlement.

This information is provided as an overview of market conditions for those curious about the state of the Monroe County, PA real estate market. The nature of real estate markets is ever-changing and reliant on many factors. For this reason I ask that if you are looking for specific market data related to your Pocono home, you contact me to discuss it or to make arrangements for a complimentary market analysis. Every area, neighborhood, street and home are different and value can only be determined on a case by case basis.

For example, this home beat the statistics by selling in 58 days for 96% of the owners' asking price, which is higher than the above stated average sale price. There is some good news :)

Information gathered from the Pocono Mountains Association of REALTORS' Multiple Listing Service on November 18, 2008. Information deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

Big News + A New Look For The Blog!


Look Who's "Going Green"!

The BOBHAY.COM Team, which includes yours truly, is pleased to announce its affiliation with Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate Wilkins & Associates (BHGREWA). This move is designed to re-position ourselves in the rapidly changing real estate environment and offer our clients enhanced exposure and expanded services which they need, deserve and expect from their real estate professionals.

Some of the benefits of this move include:

  • A highly recognized brand name with a fresh & attractive contemporary look (see
  • The convenience of 8 offices in the Greater Pocono Region
  • Exposure in up to three area MLS Systems: Pocono Mountains, Pike/Wayne and Lehigh Valley Associations
  • The power of a 100+ agent team, promoting the brand and our listings
  • Sales and rentals of primary, vacation and investment properties, farms, vacant land, acreage and commercial properties, all for lease or sale
  • Full-service Relocation Department
  • Property Management through integrated affiliate, NEPA Management Associates
  • And more!

Blending Old & New

We have considered this move very carefully and found that BHGREWA was the best fit because of the fact that this company is growing in spite of the challenging real estate market, and has a company culture that encourages innovation and embraces the opportunities that new technologies bring. We feel this is a great move for us and look forward to a mutually beneficial relationship with the Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate Wilkins & Associates family.

Our new office is located at 304 Park Avenue, Stroudsburg, just a few blocks south of our location on Seventh Street. Our phone numbers and email addresses will stay the same. Also, clients will continue to enjoy all of the benefit of our personalized service in addition to all of the exciting new offerings that our new affiliation allows us to provide.

Debbie O'Brien, our Transaction Coordinator / Assistant / Right Arm Extraordinaire will still be fielding calls and keeping Bob and me, and our files, on track. Be sure to say 'Hi' to her when you call in!

Thanks Are In Order

Yarrow Wilkins and the whole BHGREWA family have really made this transition a pleasure and I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone - the staff, the managers, the agents, everyone company-wide - for welcoming us so warmly and helping us through the move. The calls, emails, and the Welcome Breakfast held on Monday morning, all mean a lot to us and make us even more excited to be a part of the team. Thank you all!!

We look forward to continuing to serve our customers and clients with even better services in the coming days, weeks and months, and hope you share our excitement in this beneficial change. As always, we welcome your comments and questions.

Lisa Sanderson & Bob Hay

P.S. How do you like the new look the Poconos Real Estate Blog is sporting? :)