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Rural home sales see major increase during pandemic in the Poconos

A new study shows that home sales went up significantly from 2019 to 2020, and Newswatch 16's Courtney Harrison spoke with a realtor about the trend.

WAYNE COUNTY, Pa. — For sale signs don't last long in front of homes near Lake Wallenpaupack, where the real estate market has been hot.

Will Clauss is a real estate agent working in Wayne and Pike Counties with Davis R. Chant Realtors and says he and other agents in the area have been busy during the pandemic.

"The people that want it to be up here really started that summer looking and buying, some of them sight unseen, as soon as they hit the market. And then now I think a lot of the emotional, impulsive buys have kind of subsided, but people are really still, and there's a huge demand for people to still be up in the area," Clauss said.

A state agency found that real estate sales from 2019 to 2020 showed a 7% overall increase in rural home sales in Pennsylvania. It also found that 8 of the top 10 municipalities that saw a major increase in rural home sales were in the Poconos.

Credit: The Center for Rural Pennsylvania

The study also notes that many of the buyers were from New York and New Jersey.

"People want to come out, and kind of have more privacy. Not be around as many people, so they're able to come up here buy houses with affordable taxes, affordable home prices up to a point," Clauss said.

It's great for real estate that people are coming to the area and buying houses in these municipalities. The unfortunate part is they may have just missed the census and won't be counted, and that factors into the local economy.

"The disappointment that we're not able to have counted them now and probably won't be able to for almost a decade, considering I still see our area continuing to grow at least for the next few years."

Realtors say because many people who moved to the Poconos at the start of the pandemic have decided to stay, there are not many homes available. The listing price for homes that are for sale is significantly higher.

"It turns out that the prices have kept continuing to go up, so those who have waited to sell and they're considering it now they've lucked out because the prices didn't hit. They didn't hit their downswing."

If you'd like to see the full study, you can find it here.

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