With their daughter Abby able to graduate from faculty, Kevin and Cathy Glikes, of Robinson, Pa., went searching for a second residence.
What they discovered on the market on-line was a comfortable, three-bedroom, 2½-bath condominium in Seven Springs Mountain Resort that Cathy Glikes, 58, mentioned she and her husband, 63, rapidly fell in love with.
“After we noticed our place — it was simply residence,” mentioned Cathy Glikes, a retired preschool instructor. “It’s a pleasant getaway from the large metropolis. It was simply the correct time.”
It has been simply the correct time for a lot of others to maneuver to rural Pennsylvania — even from Maryland, Virginia, Florida and Texas — a brand new report by the Heart for Rural Pennsylvania discovered. However together with the transfer has come site visitors congestion on twisting nation roads and worries about broadband velocity, trash pickup and different municipal companies that may be missing in small cities.
The Heart for Rural Pennsylvania, an advisory group to the Common Meeting, discovered the variety of residence gross sales and median residence costs boomed in 5 rural Pennsylvania counties throughout the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic — March via December 2020 — when in comparison with the identical interval in 2019.
The main focus of the examine was the counties of Monroe, Pike, Wayne, Susquehanna and Somerset, the place the Glikes purchased their condominium about two months in the past.
Together with an rising variety of property transfers got here ballooning median residence costs.
In Somerset County, for instance, the median pre-pandemic residence value was $49,000, in keeping with the examine, which was based mostly on state tax and county assessor information.
Throughout the peak of the pandemic, the median residence value exploded by 200% to $150,000. Precise sale costs have been typically a lot increased: The Glikes, for instance, paid $316,523 for his or her condominium.
Many of the newcomers to Somerset County from out of state got here from city areas, the place the COVID-19 charges have been increased than in rural areas because the pandemic hit.
Wayne, Forest and Pike counties had the very best share will increase in residential property transfers when evaluating the March to December intervals in 2019 and 2020, every seeing a rise in extra of 40%.
Even Fayette County, which was not a part of the examine, noticed an 11.6% enhance in residential property gross sales between 2019 and 2020, regardless of a pointy enhance in COVID-19 instances that just about overwhelmed WVU Drugs’s Uniontown Hospital in December 2020.
Armstrong, Philadelphia and Washington counties had the most important share lower in property transfers over that interval, every with a drop of greater than 19%.
“The individuals within the huge cities need to get away,” mentioned Patricia A. Peifer, Somerset County recorder of deeds. The workplace collects a 2% actual property switch tax that’s cut up among the many state, native municipalities and college districts. “Seven Springs, Hidden Valley, Indian Lake — we’ve seen a giant enhance.”
» READ MORE: Available on the market: A four-bedroom Cape Cod in Wynnewood for $799,000
Spurring the transfer to the nation have been the companies and faculties closed as a result of COVID-19, in keeping with the examine. However the inflow of newcomers to rural elements additionally introduced issues about broadband velocity, trash assortment and different municipal companies, in keeping with state Sen. Lisa Baker, a Republican from Luzerne County.
“Enterprise closures, job restructuring and well being worries have triggered extra individuals to relocate,” she mentioned at a Harrisburg information convention on Wednesday when the report was launched. “Site visitors congestion — one thing we solely noticed throughout the seasonal summer season months — is now changing into a year-round concern.”
On the information convention, state Sen. Gene Yaw, a Republican from Lycoming County who chairs the Heart for Rural Pennsylvania, mentioned such points have been the explanation that representatives from rural elements of the state should proceed to foyer for funding to handle issues arising from rising inhabitants.
Some companies are benefiting from the development, Baker added: One grocery store in her district reported a 20% enhance in gross sales because of the spike in residential residence gross sales whereas truck drivers are reporting “off the chart supply numbers.”
Rural faculties, too, are reaping the fruits of rising property gross sales. Faculty realty tax income rose 21% to $1.2 million between Jan. 1, 2019, and Oct. 15, 2021, in Somerset County.
The rise got here simply in time for Rockwood Space Faculty District, which has 650 college students in kindergarten via twelfth grade.
Actual property switch tax income — which contains 30% to 40% of the district’s finances — rose 140% to $333,348 for 2020-2021 from $138,523 for 2019-2020, Superintendent Mark Bower mentioned. The bonus got here in useful protecting an 83% enhance within the district’s price for educating 55 college students who attend cyber constitution faculties, which price $746,732 for the most recent yr.
Seven Springs set an actual property gross sales document of $46 million for the yr ending Sept. 30, greater than double the gross sales of $16 million for the earlier yr, mentioned Alex Moser, director of promoting and communications on the resort.
» READ MORE: This Burlington County home embraces know-how, in addition to nature
House gross sales have been additionally sizzling in close by Hidden Valley, which elevated by 126% to $32.7 million for the yr ending Sept. 1, 2021, up from $14.4 million for a similar interval in 2019.
“As quick they go in the marketplace, they go off the market,” Moser mentioned. “It’s unbelievable. Folks noticed the worth of getting out of town.”
Though the report prompt that COVID-19 worries drove the actual property growth in rural elements of Pennsylvania, Cathy Glikes mentioned it was not a think about her household’s resolution to purchase their condominium.
Actually, neither of them ski in a neighborhood constructed round a mountain ski resort they usually haven’t any plans of renting their unit for a part of the yr as some householders do to offset the bills of proudly owning a second residence.
As a substitute, she and her husband benefit from the quiet of the nation, particularly in a spot with close by eating places throughout the complicated and so many outside actions. And she or he loves her residence’s facilities, which embrace a galley kitchen and fireside.
“We simply love Seven Springs,” she mentioned, including that it’s solely a little bit over an hour’s drive from Pittsburgh. “There’s at all times one thing to do.”