Darby Borough PA has been one of the most stable real estate locations in Suburban Philadelphia and Delaware County. It is also one of the least expensive areas appealing to a wide variety of home buyers as well as to investors looking for solid investments. With this steady demand and support, the prices in the area have remained almost flat for the last several years.
Darby has a long history and has always seen good demand for its housing due to its convenient location adjacent to Philadelphia and close to the Philadelphia International Airport. Over the years though, its housing has not kept pace with some of the current trends. Row homes remain the most common housing, but there has been a lack of new investment in the township resulting in much new growth and development moving further west through the county. This has actually worked out well with Darby being able to avoid the wide price variations experienced in other Delaware County locations, and prices have remained remarkably stable until recently.
This stability may be coming to an end as prices seem to be settling quite rapidly. In 2005, the average sales price was $61,000. In 2006, 2007, and 2008, the average sales price rose and stayed between $68,000 and $69,000. Only in the last six months have we seen prices begin to pull back to an average price of $61,000. In addition, the average list price of those homes currently under contract (13 homes) is only $54,000 anticipating a further decline in the average sales price.
We have also seen a rather dramatic increase in the average days on the market (DOM) and corresponding decline in overall activity. In 2005, there were 155 sales with the average DOM equal to 49, in 2006 there were 184 sales with 56 DOM, in 2007: 156 sales with 57 DOM, in 2008: 99 sales with 73 DOM, and the last six months saw 31 sales with 81 DOM. Finally, today there are 78 homes still on the market with an average list price of $76,000 and 131 DOM. Although activity has increased since the October stall, there is still potentially a years worth of inventory on the market.
Bottom Line: This could be a warning sign for Darby and the rest of Delaware County Pennsylvania. As higher end sales prices have drifted down over the last couple years, we have continued to see strong continuous demand supporting the bottom of the market and putting a floor under these prices. Should this floor disappear, we could experience another step down across the county. The inability of this administration to generate any confidence in the financial markets is beginning to show up dramatically at the local level and could be a warning sign for additional problems ahead.
(All statistics from the TrendMLS system and believed accurate but not guaranteed.)