Coldwell Banker recently ranked Wilkes-Barre and Scranton as two of the top ten most affordable housing markets in or within commuting distance to metropolitan area in the country.
Wilkes-Barre was ranked sixth, thanks to the average price of a home listing of $94,436. The median household income is $32,253, and the median age of homes is 67 years old, according to the report. Nearly one-third of residents are married, and almost a quarter are families with children. Forty-three percent of homes are owned, 44 percent are rented and 13 percent are unoccupied. In 2015, 257 Wilkes-Barre properties were sold and the median sale price of a home was $64,032.
“We have had a wonderful growth opportunity with the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza, it has been great for different venues of entertainment. We also have the Mohegan Sun Pocono Casino and PNC Field nearby, so there is much to do, and many nice things for families as well,” said Luzerne County Association of Realtors® President Matthew Hodorowski.
He added that the school districts are “great,” and that the area has dedicated teachers, along with scrog police and fire departments.
“With Wilkes-Barre, its very diverse community, but a very welcoming one. We still maintain an identity as a small town, but we have bigger city venues. Also, you can get elementary, middle school, high school and college education all in the area. The market in the area is one that is steady, and housing is definitely affordable,” said Hodorowski.
Meanwhile, Scranton came in right behind Wilkes-Barre, landing seventh on the list. Today, the average price of a home listing is $104,842. The population is 74,653 people, with a median household income of $38,043. More than one-third of residents are married and a quarter are families with children. Forty-six percent of homes are owned, 43 percent are rented, and 10 percent are unoccupied. In 2015, 394 Scranton properties were sold and the median sale price of a home was $90,521.
“It’s an affordable market,” said Greater Scranton Board of Realtors® President Sara Levy. “But the average sale price has gone up a bit in the city of Scranton. Our downtown become more of a neighborhood than it was ever was. You can live downtown and walk to restaurants and bars and shops and things like that. In the last five to eight years, that has really turned around because our downtown was never residential.”
She also said the University of Scranton, along with the Commonwealth Medical College have attracted both students and staff to remain in the Electric City.
“Some parts of town are improving and values are going up. Its becoming a more desirable place to live,” said Levy.