New report shows 20-year high in Chester County homebuilding – mercury

West Chester – A new report from the Chester County Planning Commission shows that more homes were built in the county in 2021 than in any year since 2001, and that growth was largely driven by apartment building.

The report also said that despite the price hikes, more homes were sold than in any year since 2005.

“The numbers of units built and sold and the prices at which they were sold are staggering, but not surprising,” said Chester County Commissioner Marianne Moskovitz. People and jobs keep moving to our county because it’s a special place to live and work. This means the private market continues to build, especially apartments in developed suburban growth centers such as Exton, West Chester and along the Route 202 corridor, to meet demand.

“The only drawback with this positive report is that we are still not producing enough housing for people on modest incomes. This issue – strategies for accessible and affordable housing – is a greater focus for us now.”

A total of 3,743 homes were built in 2021, and apartments made up 1,963 of this total. This figure represents a more than threefold increase in the number of apartments built in the previous year. New and existing home sales increased more than 17% compared to 2020 numbers.

The median home sale price continued to rise, reaching $420,000 in 2021. The median sales price in 2021 was the highest, adjusted for inflation, since the county began collecting housing data. Only 15% of homes sold in the county last year were deemed “affordable” for less than $250,000.

“While this report shows that demand for living in Chester County is driving both the apartment market and home sales, it also reflects the fact that our current housing stock does not offer a sufficient variety of options,” said Chester County Commissioner Josh Maxwell. “We must encourage opportunities for first-time homebuyers and dwellings near public transportation.”

The median sales price for detached units jumped nearly 16% to $475,000 in 2021, while the median sales price for homes and twins also increased significantly, rising about 18% to $369,000.

“We know that the pandemic has changed a lot of people’s opinion of what style of home they want, and what they wanted is more space, especially when they have to work from or choose to work from home,” Chester County Commissioner Michelle Kishlin added. This helps explain the huge demand for traditional single family homes, and now we are seeing this huge rise in larger apartments with all amenities. Despite the higher values, we have areas in the county where families can still find a home at moderate prices.”

According to the report, low-cost home sales were largely in the Phoenixville, East Goshen, Coatesville and Downingtown/Exton areas. The highest priced sales occurred mostly in Tredyffrin, Easttown, and Willistown. The town of Tredyffrin achieved the largest set of home sale prices for the second year in a row.

Brian O’Leary, executive director of the Chester County Planning Commission, whose management compiles the annual housing report, expects this hot trend of construction and sales to continue into 2022.

“We may start to see activity slow down a bit in 2023, especially as the cost of construction increases,” he said. Developing more housing that can be obtained by low-income families remains a priority for the province. The Planning Committee is considering ideas with the express order of Commissioners Moskovitz, Maxwell and Kechlin that we significantly increase our supply in this category.”

Data for this report is provided by the Chester County Evaluation Office.

Find the full report at www.chescoplanning.org/Housing/HousingReport-21.cfm.

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