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The Somers Real Estate Blog

Your Voice in Philadelphia Real Estate

By The Somers Team | Agent in Temple, PA
  • Where is the Philadelphia Condo Market Going?

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Philadelphia  |  July 25, 2009 6:45 AM  |  904 views  |  No comments

    Where is the Philadelphia Condo Market Going ?

    Philadelphia Condos

    Straight to the dogs some might say !  Chris and I talk about this 24/7. We live in a Northern Liberties new construction condo right now, I rented in the Art Museum for years, and we moved from Old City where we still own one of our old condos for investment purposes.  So, when I speak with our "opinion", I am doing so having much of our own hard earned money invested in these areas of the city.  Not to mention we have experience as modestly successful Realtors.

    The Center City Philadelphia
    condo market and some of the "fringe neighborhoods" such as Northern Liberties, parts of Fishtown, the Art Museum area, even Old City, that have an abundance of new construction condos and condo rehabs, are handcuffed by the mortgage industry.  It looks like the only developer doing well is Bart Blatstein with Tower Investments.   He is a genius because he builds posh apartment housing and then creates a village around them that will not only provide for their every need but create an attraction for the entire city (The Piazza is a great example).  It is a brilliant business model and a generous city planner. (Bart Rocks !)

    Developers and rehabbers cannot go any lower on their prices without being upside down on their loans. One opinion is that developers are defaulting on their loans is because the buyer pool for their 1-2 bedroom condos are nonexistent. Well, maybe not completely nonexistent, but for the most part, the buyer pool is more like an evaporating puddle.

    Who are the buyers for most of these beautiful condos ? 
    They are you. They are typically young, first time buyers, with good credit, and a great job making decent pay but they typically do not have a lot of cash saved up.  Their savings are perhaps 10-15% shy of qualifying for a mortgage for a new condo.

    The buyers that are out there right now do not qualify for new condos
    .  Many can only qualify for an FHA loan which rules out most of the condos out there in the city. (see Philadelphia Condos - Even if You Qualify, the Condo Building May Not) .  That is why neighborhoods like Old Kensington, Fishtown and the Art Museum, as well as Pennsport and Graduate Hospital have been where many sales transactions are occurring.  The condo buyers move to the closest neighborhood next to Center City and buy row homes there.  As long as there is a demand for FHA friendly housing, the prices in those neighborhoods will not go down dramatically.

    If the loan products do not become more user friendly, then sellers will have to either lower their price and suck up the loss, rent their home/condo until the market ripens, choose a short sale if they have proof of hardship, or throw the towel in and let the bank foreclose on the property.  We are seeing all of the above in our Real Estate practice for Philadelphia condos.

    As for condo pricing, it has come down, but perhaps not as much as it has in New Jersey,  and certainly not as much as it has in other states. The Developers are holding on and renting as an option. The Marine Club is one example (there are many more) of a fabulous, large, Luxury condo conversion that has amped up on rentals rentals because it is unattainable for first time buyers that can only qualify for an FHA loan.

    That is our opinion. At least that is one of them : )

    We hope this info on Philadelphia Condos helps answer some of your questions.  If you find the information informative and helpful, please subscribe to our blog !  Is only a click away !  If you are in our neck of the woods, please contact us via phone or email or ask about our new office location in Northern Liberties !

    The Somers - Chris and Stephanie Somers

    If interested in buying or selling a condo in Philadelphia, contact Chris and Stephanie Somers at thesomersteam@yahoo.com or 215-400-2612 . You can connect with us on Facebook and Twitter .  For investment properties, check out our new investor site at Philly Investor Hub and ask us about Philadelphia Foreclosures and Short Sales .

    The Somers Team - Philadelphia Real Estate - our main site

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    Areas of specialty include Northern Liberties, Old City, Center City, Fishtown, Graduate Hospital, Art Museum, Queen Village, Pennsport, Old Kensington, Port Richmond, Bridesburg, Society Hill, Loft District, Spring Garden and more !

  • Are we the pulse of real estate ?

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Philadelphia  |  December 10, 2008 6:11 PM  |  444 views  |  No comments

    The Pulse of the Real Estate Market

    I have always been a little bit anti-media, and even more so during the last year with all the doom and gloom of the "national" real estate market never taking into account local markets.  A featured post "Can we gag the Media ?  Or Hang the DJ ? " expressed that point and was a post that struck a nerve with consumers as they participated greatly in the comments which is a little bit unusual.  One thing I have learned since that post is that in this new world, it is not really CNN, CNBC, Fox news or anyone else that is the media, but it is all of us who is the new media.... right here on Active Rain.  And who better to report on the updates of the real estate market than those of us that are on the front lines !

    Pulse of the Real Estate Market

    Which brings me to the main point of this post today !  Being that we are on the front lines I believe that we are the pulse of real estate.   We see trends and buyer activity in our local markets before anyone else.  Also, in Active Rain, we can get a snapshot of other people's markets, their successes and so forth.   Maybe it is me, but I have read numerous success stories just in the last week or so !  And this is during the "slowest time of the year" (according to the media) .  Below are just a couple of success stories in Active Rain (many of which were featured) I have read in the past week:

    "A Buyer Fell out of the Active Rain Sky and Hit Me" by Chris Ann Cleland

    "Listed Last Wednesday ! Under Contract Today !  Thank you Active Rain !" by Donna Bigda

    "Countdown to the Holidays - New Listings and Buyers all Around" by Cindy Jones

    "Another Active Rain Sale Closed ! " by Tina Shah

    "Sell Real Estate Instead of Shopping on Black Friday ? "  by Chris and Stephanie Somers

    There are countless more posts out there like this but the point is that things are changing.  Can you feel it ?  Is your heart rate picking up ?  Is your pulse starting to beat louder ?  Faster ?  As a buyer, are you starting to get excited about mortgage rates being at lows for the year ?  Or perhaps the $7,500 first time homebuyer credit ?  Have you read "5 Reasons for Buyers to Get off the Fence" ?  As agents, do you see this activity happening around you ?  How many buyers are you going to reach out to to communicate these benefits too ?  If you do not, someone else will.

    Lastly, if consumer confidence has not picked up a little bit and things do not look brighter in the next year, how in the world could the Dow Jones Industrial average be up more than 250 points on friday in the face of dismal unemployment numbers that were extremely worse than expectations ?  You guessed it, because mortgage rates are at their lows which will stablize the housing market and pick up the economy through home sales and refinancing.  Not to mention that oil has plummeted to $40.00 a barrell.   We are probably looking at $1.50 gas pretty soon !!!

    The holiday season is definitely now worth a cheer !  And I feel great being the pulse of the Philadelphia real estate market !  Are you on the pulse as well ?

    Now on to more important things... my wedding anniversary weekend : )


    The Somers - Protecting and Growing Your Wealth 

    Philadelphia Real Estate - Chris and Stephanie Somers

    The Philadelphia Real Estate Blog

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  • Is buyer demand, traffic and confidence at record lows ?

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Philadelphia County  |  November 11, 2008 6:30 PM  |  619 views  |  1 comment

    Bob Toll of Toll Brothers was quoted last night that as part of their preliminary outlook that "Buyer confidence, demand and traffic are at record lows."

    I have always respected Mr. Toll as he has been consistently upfront and direct in regards to the status of the housing market where other CEOs seemed to be in denial.  

    However, this statement I am not too sure about.

    To see the rest of this post go here:

    Is buyer demand, traffic and confidence at record lows ?

  • Can we gag the Media ? Or Hang the DJ ?

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Philadelphia County  |  October 11, 2008 6:16 PM  |  632 views  |  No comments

    Can the National Association of Realtors sue the media ?

    What is the media's influence ?

    Don't kid yourself !  The media makes the problem worse.  Sure there is a "crisis" in the country with the mortgage mess and the financial markets being battered.  But if you listen to the media they would have you not leave your house and never spend another dime !

    The media excacerbates the problems.  Because of the media, they are freezing people from making decisions that could really benefit their lives.

    Case in point - right in the middle of negotiating 2 agreements, both buyers or a relative or friend of the buyer were so spooked about media reports that both buyers pulled their agreements.  Now I am not saying that maybe this is not the best decision for each buyer, but it sure shows the power of the media !

    In one case, the buyer would get one of the most amazing deals for a condo in Old City I have seen in awhile and is just too spooked to move foward.

    I really believe that during this time that if the media is going to take certain positions of recommendations on the marketplace, they should have commentators on both sides of the fence per se.  The fact of the matter is how can a media pundit recommend not to purchase a property anywhere in the United States where that goes against "location location location".  And if a buyer is going to get a tremendous value, how can one advise against that ?  If a buyer can improve the quality of their life 10x over, how can one advise against that ?

    If that happened just with us in the last week, imagine how this could affect homebuyers all over the country !

    Can the National Association of Realtors get more involved to make sure that their voice is heard ?

    Or maybe just ask the United States Government for a bailout if every potential buyer decides to lock themselves up in their apartment ?

    As The Smiths sing on YouTube -  "PANIC ... Hang the DJ"

    Philadelphia Real Estate - Chris and Stephanie Somers

    Philadadelphia Real Estate Blog

  • Cleansing of Our Industry - A Real Estate Agent Glut ?

    Posted Under: Market Conditions in Philadelphia  |  September 17, 2008 5:00 PM  |  495 views  |  4 comments

     Cleansing of the Real Estate Industry

    Cleansing of our industry

    I think the main benefit of the housing market downtown is the opportunity for all the part time and non-producing agents to exit the business.  Let's face it, a few years ago, everyone and their mother was either a realtor or a mortgage person.  Now, the "easy money" is over and many realtors and mortgage professionals have left the industry, either on their own or have been let go.  And many more will follow.  This can be looked at as a sad time, but in reality most of these folks should never have been in the industry in the first place.

    The big picture is that our industry is difficult, very difficult.  Navigating through a transaction is no easy task - it requires hard work and experience.   Due to that, sellers and buyers are choosing realtors to represent them that have a presence in the marketplace - that know how to market a property to get it sold, that knows the market inside and out to help a buyer or a seller.  One who will be able to handle all the bumps in the road and to provide the highest level of service and probablity of a successful closing is simply that much more in demand now than 2 years ago.

    Frankly, in some markets, there is not a real estate glut, but simply a real estate agent glutThere has been too many agents, too many mortgage professionals, too many title companies and so forth.  Now with a lot of these folks either out the door, or leaving, it will make our industry that much more competent and professional.  And for the agents that remain and make it through the storm, they will come out smelling like roses with a larger market share and positioned for strong growth.


    Thus, for those of you in the industry suffering through the pain, agony and ogoda, hang in there and make it through.  The big picuture is that if you make it, you will be 5 times as succesful in the next year or two !

    Philadelphia Real Estate                     The Philadelphia Real Estate Blog

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