The Lion's Den

News & Views About Real Estate in the Greater Philadelphia Area

Category Archives: Market Data

Sales and home price data for the various markets in and around Philadelphia.

Twice each year, Kurfiss Sotheby’s International Realty Chairman Donald Pearson provides an update on company performance and broad market trends Continue reading

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Here are the third-quarter data for home sales and prices in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties in southeastern Pennsylvania. Information is from Trend, the multiple-listing service, and Dr. Kevin Gillen of Drexel University’s Lindy Institute and Meyers Research LLC. For detailed information about a ZIP code or Continue reading

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Home buyers in Philadelphia are now calling the shots, reports Zillow’s Market Research team. Zillow-RE-researchhome-value-indexHome sellers have the power if you live in the technology corridors of San Jose, San Francisco and Seattle. On average, the ZHVI (Home value Index) was up 3.9 percent over the same time last year. In Philadelphia, those values only grew 2.1 percent, slightly behind the trends. What that means for the home buyers in Philadelphia is that sellers have had their homes on the market a little bit longer on average that in other parts of the country and therefore are more anxious to sell. Continue reading

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To or not to stage? The answer is often an emphatic YES.

Our agents often have to have important discussions with clients about how others will perceive their homes, and how staging – in small or extensive degrees – can help market and sell your home. Online images are the primary way that most potential buyers will view your house for the first time, and staging can have a huge impact on the appeal and readability of those pictures.

“In my experience, staging is integral to a successful sale. You need not hire a professional stager – everyone can make the changes needed by decluttering, deep cleaning and freshening up each space,” says Kurfiss Sotheby’s International Realty Agent Melanie Stecura, who has represented some of the Philadelphia’s regions most notable listings. “Every effort you put in will directly affect your sale price and days on market.” 

Remember the number ’42.’ A 2011 study by the Real Estate Staging Association found that among 410 homes staged before they went on the market, the average home sold in 42 days. Another study by the RESA looked at 174 unstaged homes that had been on the market for an average of 156 days before the homeowners agreed to staging. After these homes were staged and re-listed, the average home also sold in 42 days. Coincident or not, this RESA data is a powerful argument for staging.

Home Staging Philadelphia Real Estate
– Add Value, Reduce Days on Market

Tom Smitley is a Kurfiss Sotheby’s International Realty Philadelphia real estate agent with a personal and professional connection to staging. In 2008, his decorating and staging business was featured in a New York Times article and highlighted for helping a luxury home seller get more than anticipated – with a $100,000 investment, a client was able to find a buyer at nearly $500,000 over the projected sale price before staging.

“Staging can be as simple as helping a client reorganize their furnishings and edit out the excess stuff, or it can involve developing a design plan with colors, fabrics, furniture, lighting and art choices that accent the best features of a home,” says Smitley. “In extreme cases, I may recommend an investment in remodeling to correct unsightly or nonfunctional features to maximize the seller’s return. “

“I used to offer my staging services to clients as an extra bonus to get a listing.  Now, it’s established that buyers expect homes to be staged, and the staged properties bring a higher price and go under contract faster, so staging is not an option but rather an important part of the marketing strategy.” 

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Philadelphia Village Front

In a competitive market, particularly as it is with real estate in Philadelphia, Realtors have to be resourceful about marketing tools and accessing buyers using the best media. It’s a marketing science, far more exact and involved than the ‘baking cookies smell’ wafting from the doors of an open house, or simply having a strategically placed sign on a Sunday afternoon.

Video has been an available tool for marketing properties for years, but as buyer demographic shifts to a younger and faster paced generation, it’s relevance is continuing to grow. “The truth is that when a buyer is looking for a new property they are hoping to visually see what they’ve already envisioned in their mind,” says Diana Madrigal of


Today, the open house and the showing are typically secondary opportunities for clients to see a home – the minute a listing goes “live” online, it begins getting traffic. “Visual content is so important in our time – it’s a first impressions world where buyers are browsing on a handheld device, and the quality of the initial images you put out there is paramount,” says Kurfiss Sotheby’s International Realty Main Line agent R.C. Atlee.

This home, aptly named “Village of One’s Own,” was masterfully designed by renowned architect Hugh Jacobsen as a sanctuary where classical, natural, and contemporary elements exist in harmony. Located in the Pennock Woods area of Abington Township, it’s air is as pristine and timeless and remote as the Martha’s Vineyard home Jacobsen designed for Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, yet it’s minutes from all conveniences and access to Philadelphia. It was recently featured by Philadelphia Magazine’s ‘Property’.

According to, search engines index pages with video content higher in their findings. That’s one of the reasons that Kurfiss Sotheby’s International Main Line agent Susan Ravenscroft encourages clients like the owners of this stunning and unique architectural gem in Meadowbrook, Pennsylvania to use video as a real estate sales tool. In addition to giving a polished and well-produced view of the property, it allows potential buyers around the globe to have an intimate “first showing.”

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The year-to-date single-family and condominium home sales data for Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties are in, courtesy of Trend, the multiple-listing service for this market. Overall, the numbers are Continue reading

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If there’s one thing everyone seems to care about, it’s how the real estate market is faring in their own neighborhoods. Twice each year, Kurfiss Sotheby’s International Realty, with data from real-estate expert Charles “Chuck” Cosgrove, prepares Buy & Sell,  a market report looking at Continue reading

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Today’s Wall Street Journal offers an interesting look at home affordability around the U.S. Not surprisingly, the most affordable cities are Continue reading

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We are just about to publish our new issue of Buy/Sell, the market summary for the greater Philadelphia real estate area, but until that finishes production in early September, here’s a preview of the home sales data from Donald Pearson, chairman, Kurfiss Sotheby’s International Realty. On the whole, the market certainly has improved from one year ago. In some price categories, notably the mid-market (loosely defined as homes priced between $250,000 and $750,000), the market heated up considerably. July 2013 has been very strong, and looking ahead, Pearson sees more pending sales for $1,000,000 and above properties. Stay tuned for the next issue of Buy/Sell or contact our Philadelphia office at 215.735.2225 or New Hope office at 215.794.3227 for specific information about the market in your ZIP code.

2013-Midyear Update from Kurfiss Sotheby’s on Vimeo.

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home sales chartHome Sales Jumped in March

March home sales came in like a lion, according to the most recent data from Trend, the multiple-listing service in the greater Philadelphia area. Across Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties, the number of houses sold Continue reading

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