Real NEastate: Slim chance to buy in Somerton

Q: I am looking for a three- or four-bedroom home in Somerton with a large yard. My agent has shown me a couple houses that fit what I want, but they are way out of my price range. I am approved for $180,000, and do not want a fixer-upper. I personally know of a couple homes in Somerton that have sold for less. Should I hold out and keep looking in Somerton or just settle for Bustleton?

A: To be honest, I don’t think you’ll fare much better in Bustleton, either. These are both areas of the Northeast where the average price for a home is close to $250,000. If you have your sights set on these areas, it will be very difficult for you to find what you are looking for.

Have there been homes that sold for less than $180,000? Yes, but out of the 34 sold and 29 sales currently pending, minus the fixer-uppers, in Somerton there were only five in your price range. In Bustleton out of the 39 sold and 38 sales currently pending, there were six.

It works out to be less than a 10 percent chance of finding a three- or four-bedroom home under $180,000 in the 19116 or 19115 zip codes that is not classified as a fixer-upper. Throw in the large yard and it’s even tougher. If you want to hold out, it could take you a very long time, and with interest rates destined to go up, your buying power will decrease.

That said, $180,000 is still a very good budget for a home in Northeast Philadelphia right now. And while it’s not likely to find such a good deal in Somerton or Bustleton without having to do some work, if you still would like to be in the Far Northeast, you might find something that works for you across Roosevelt Boulevard in Parkwood or Morrell Park where the median is closer to your price range at $200,000.

And tell your agent to stop showing you homes way out of your price range. That is not going to help you find what you need. In fact, it will just make it even more difficult. Good luck!

Stacey McCarthy is a real estate agent with the McCarthy Group of Keller Williams. Her Real NEastate column appears every Wednesday on NEastPhilly.com. See others here. Read other NEast Philly columns here.

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