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Poconos real estate market heating up

The pandemic has brought more people to the outdoors, some of whom now want to live closer to nature, and that's keeping realtors in the Poconos busy.

MONROE COUNTY, Pa. — When the coronavirus shutdown first happened, people who were in the process of buying or selling their home were left in limbo. Now that business has resumed, it's opened the floodgates, and real estate agents in Monroe County are busy.

"We're seeing a lack of inventory. We're at a little over 700 active listings in the county. That's about a third of what it normally is. A lot of buyers, especially out-of-state buyers, New York, New Jersey," said John Fox of the Century 21 Select group In Tannersville.

Fox says it's definitely a seller's market, and he's seen bidding wars for houses that have only been on the market mere hours.

"It's mostly serious buyers, and there's a lot of buyers, so a lot of homes that are in the predominant price ranges are seeing a lot of activity. You might have two, three, or four buyers that you're competing against to get that home."

Real estate agents say business is booming for those looking to sell their homes, but it's the low-interest rates that are allowing people to buy their first or second home.

"A lot of people are finding that the purchase on a mortgage, the monthly payment on a mortgage, is going to be less than rent if they're a renter, and even with some of the loan programs with minimum money down, they can get into a new home."

Mortgage interest rates are currently some of the lowest they've ever been, around three percent, but there are things you should know if you're ready to buy.

"Call your real estate agent. Get an agent upfront, talk to a lender that you trust. If you bank with a local person, get them into the loan department and see where it is, but find someone that knows the area that's gone through it. It is so crazy right now that if you wait two or three days, you may miss that house that you really want," Fox said. "Local lenders have some of those first-time homebuyer programs, or first responder programs, or local programs that may just be super beneficial for that particular buyer."