Have you noticed? Housing prices have gone through the roof!
All-cash offers, bidding wars, homes selling for thousands over asking prices—these describe the US housing market in spring-summer of 2021. The boom may continue indefinitely. It’s hard to predict.
According to the Wall Street Journal, “U. S. home prices surged at their fastest pace ever in April as buyers competing for a limited number of homes on the market pushed the booming housing market to new records.” Low mortgage interest rates also have spurred strong demand resulting in a critical shortage of homes for sale.
The WSJ article goes on to mention that the “median existing-home sales price in May rose almost 24% from a year earlier.”
This is very good news for homeowners, not so much for buyers, who may be willing to pay ridiculous prices because they long for more space after a year hemmed in by the pandemic.
If you are selling your home, you’ll probably get top dollar for it at the moment. If you plan to stay put, your home equity has zoomed up, perhaps even doubled or tripled in value since you purchased it.
* * *
There’s a property I’ve had my eye on near Manheim, Pennsylvania. I will never own the Hans Longenecker House, nor do I want to. But it is part of my family heritage dating back to Langnau, Switzerland in the 1700s.
The Hans Longenecker house is located close to where my mother Ruth Longenecker grew up on the Abram Metzler home and farm, also near Manheim.
The Hamaker House (Hans Longenecker house) is also not far from the town of Manheim, Pennsylvania, where my nephew Ehren Fairfield and his family live. I have Ehren to thank for calling this home to my attention.
Here is what the Hamaker House looks like now:
The historic house on Hamaker Road features stones dated 1768 and 1789, the year of the French Revolution, celebrated July 14.
The 6-bedroom, 3-bathroom house at 330 Hamaker Road has kept some original features
- Original strap hinge doors
- Wide plank wooden floors
- Deep sill windows
- Low door frames, a reminder to be humble
Zillow listed the 2680 square foot house at $412,200 in July because this real estate estimating site has to put a price tag on properties. Although I’m just guessing, I imagine the current owners, Tom and Susan Ford, may not sell because they have put so much time and effort into meticulously restoring it. They may also not want to sell their home at any price.
What price can you put on a pristine 253-year-old home?
I’ve written about houses before:
A Tale of Two Houses (Janet Givens)
Up and Down Anchor Road, Secrets Revealed
What do you make of the housing market now?
If you live in another country, has the housing market changed where you live?
Good morning, Marian! It’s a beautiful house, and I see why you admire it.
Yes, the housing market is crazy. Daughter and son-in-law were looking several months ago, but it was really too wild. (You may remember, since you like house stories, that they won their house.)
Yes, I absolutely do remember the day you daughter and son-in-law moved into their new house. I also remember the whole family helped them move in, and it was one of the very few days you didn’t publish a blog. What a priceless memory for you all!, Thanks for the reminder, Merril! 🙂
I feel connected to this house since my gg grandfather was descended from Hans. My family and I are economic refugees in the bay area of California and I had to start thinking in triple digits with a k after them as we started searching for a home over a year ago. A sister in law helped us buy a home in the Puget sound area, but we had been outbid with cash offers many times. This is moving week.
Fortunately we had renters’ rights in our city and had to be bought out. This buyout is paying for our move.
Our house in the Bay area is bare, and today we get rid of the overflow of stuff.
Calling on our ancestors who moved and migrated, especially for help to sleep.
Dolores, I have been thinking of you lately knowing you are experiencing the travail of a move. I know you’ve had some setbacks, but it looks like you are moving AHEAD with funding for your expenses. This is so good to hear. I’m glad you have family close by in your next home. Praying for health, strength, and good help unloading at the other end! ((( )))
What a beautiful house! I am not surprised at all that you have your eye on it, what with the family connection and all.
Yet inflation is never good new for buyers or even sellers unless there is someone very lucky who can afford it. As for a price tag, I’d imagine it would be priceless to you and the rest of the Longeneckers.
The Hans Longenecker house feels to me like an historic home, not a home I could imagine living in. I may feel differently if/when I go for a visit some day. Thanks for weighing in one this topic today, Fatima. It’s always good to see you here! 🙂
I’m surprised that the price of the Hans Longenecker House is so low! In my region (Seacoast New Hampshire), it would be priced much higher. Home prices here are affected by the housing market for Boston and surrounding suburbs, which is crazy high. My husband and I have been settled in our home for the past twenty years, so we haven’t been paying much attention to the real estate market until our real estate taxes started jumping.
Uh-oh! Real estate taxes jumping. (I shudder to think!)
Liz, if you go to https://zillow.com, you can type in your address to find your home value. It’s that easy. Although it’s just an estimate, it would give you an idea about the value of houses in your area. The Northeast would always be a bit higher than the Mid-Atlantic I would think, unless the house is close to Philadelphia or another big city. Thanks for sharing here! 🙂
Marian — That’s a beautiful home! Like Liz, I’m surprised that it’s priced so low. In my neck of the woods it would be at least triple that.
Laurie, that’s a Zillow estimate, so I don’t know how accurate it is. Thanks for checking in today–once again. %-)
How wonderfull that this house still stands!
Yes, after hundreds of years. Thanks, Darlene! 🙂
What a beautiful house and property, Marian! It must have have landmark status.
I live in an apartment, so I haven’t really thought much about the housing market. But my younger brother and sister-in-law might sell their house.
Probably there is an historical plaque in the front somewhere because the house is a landmark. I do know the cornerstones have preserved dates.
Yes, people are selling these days. One house at the end of our street has a “sale pending” sign, the owners I imagine wanting to cash in on the higher value now. Thanks for stopping by, L.Marie!
This home is so rich with history! I love that the original stones date back to the late 1700’s. And it’s an interesting point about it being built with low door frames to serve as a reminder to be humble. I agree with other readers that the price seems low, given that it’s been restored and its history, but like you say, Zillow has to generate a price. (Zillow’s price for our own home 6 years ago in suburban Chicago had it too high! 🙂 ) I love your photos.
Melanie, thanks for diving into the conversation here. The lower door frames may also be an indication that people were shorter then–who knows!
I’m glad you like the photos. 🙂
I can understand why you want to own this house. It’s beautiful, even before the family connection. As for housing prices, around here houses are going for more than the asking price BUT many of the houses need updates/remodeling. This means that once you own the property you have to find someone to do those things and therein is the rub. Contractors and materials are in short supply.
You seem to have a good grasp of the housing market right now. I too believe that current buyers may be stuck with home improvement projects for a while. Thanks for all this, Ally! 🙂
Thanks for the nostalgic trip back to southcentral PA, Marian. I am not familiar with this lovely home but such history and scenery is rich up there. Enjoyed this post.
I’m glad you enjoyed the walk back into history, and I’m happy you got to visit the Shippensburg (PA) area recently. I’m sure this part of the country has some lovely historic homes too. Thanks for stopping by, Lorrie! 🙂
Thanks for sharing more of your fascinating family history, Marian.
And. . . thanks for reading and commenting too, Bette! 🙂
It is one of the strangest times in history. Homes go on the market and are snatched up immediately, often for more than the asking price. Coupled with that, everywhere I go there seem to be “Help Wanted” signs. I can’t help but think, how are people paying for all of these homes?
It’s fun to imagine the history on a 253-year-old home.
We see “Help Wanted” signs in Florida too, especially in front of restaurants who want cooks and servers. I’ve heard that some of these workers are getting extended government benefits until the fall. I’m not sure about the demographic of home buyers, but I hope they are happy with their purchases because they probably can’t afford to upgrade any time soon.
Always good to see you here, Pete!
What a beautiful home your ancestors built! Are the people who own it related to you?
Our daughter and her family in Ontario had to move out of their rental recently and were forced to purchase a property that was beyond their means because of how high the prices are now. The owner had rentals in both the upstairs and downstairs, so in order to make it a one family house they had to do a lot of renovating–moving a staircase, removing an upstairs kitchen, making a new kitchen downstairs, etc. They lived in a trailer on the property with their 4 teenagers for a couple of weeks, an experience they don’t want to repeat!!
The Fords who own the Hans Longenecker House are not related to me as far as I know. When I visit Pennsylvania again, I want to swing by for a visit and learn more.
Thanks for sharing the harrowing story of your daughter’s experience, Elfrieda. Landlords are pushing tenants out these days, so they can sell for big profits. I’m glad your daughter and son-in-law could move our of the trailer. Four teens in a tiny space sounds pretty tight. 🙂
Your comments about the USA housing market are very interesting, Marian. I was reading an article about the Fed creating a huge amount of new dollars out of nothing. It worked after the great recession and it seems to be working now. Hans Longnecker’s house is lovely, a beautiful house.
Being close to high finance in South Africa gives you insight into the American market that I don’t have. However, I do wonder about “creating a huge amount of new dollars out of nothing,” as you say. Rather scary, Robbie! Thanks for stopping by with a comment today. 🙂
Marian, many of us here in the Shenandoah Valley have enjoyed going to open houses at the Abraham Lincoln Homestead –not that Abraham Lincoln ever live there. But his grandfather did I believe, and they are restoring it . It’s a younger Mennonite couple and they are going on a great track with it . If you look up the Lincoln Homestead on Facebook you should see what it’s like. They don’t plan to have open houses in the future but we got to see it the other Saturday.
P. S. I love the house in your post as well.
Thanks for the tip, Melodie. I looked up the Lincoln Homestead in a Google Search and got this: https://lincolnhomesteadva.com/ Apparently the final open house was near the end of July asking for donations of $5.00 or a penny, “whatever you can afford,” the ad said.
Now I’ll check out Facebook, which should show even more progress. I’m glad a couple with a good work ethic are restoring it, which looks like a lot of work. You can see the progress here: https://www.facebook.com/LincolnHomesteadVA 😉
Marian, what a precious and beautiful house! The personal connection obviously makes this of extra personal interest to you but I love older properties like this, imaginging all the lives lived there! It’s wonderful that it is in such perfect condition and still a family home!
The housing market in the UK has likewise gone a bit crazy, so many buyers and barely anything on the market. I have friends who have been looking for well over a year … at the moment properties sell before even the details have been drawn up. One house had 17 viewers in one day – unheard of before!
When i read your comment, I thought “. . . if walls could talk,” they’d probably have plenty to say.
You are among the first to mention property sales in the UK. I suppose the reasons for the uptick are similar to those in the US. Thanks for joining the conversation here today, Annika. 🙂
I love wide plank floors. If I had a house that matched the style I would love to have them. And it was interesting to read about the door frames. I always thought that low door frames were built during times when people were shorter. Turns out they were humble, and possibly bruised in the head occasionally! 🙂
The problem with high housing prices is, people have to live somewhere. If you sell a house for a high price, you just have to pay a high price somewhere else. Eventually people can’t afford shelter, and that becomes a problem – leading to an increase in the gap between rich and poor. The short-term greed is going to lead to long-term problems for us all, I fear.
It strikes me that bruising in the head would keep a person humble – ha! I imagine that both smaller height and the impulse to instill humility have figured into the older door frame dimensions.
Thank you for your thoughts too about the consequences of the tip-top price tags on homes these days. Your reasoning certainly make sense to me, Arlene! 🙂
That’s a gorgeous place, Marian, and I too believe it’s priced too low. The housing market here is very crazy at the moment with houses selling within days of being put on the market for well above the asking prices. We will be selling this town home in about a year when we move to a senior independent living community here is Charlottesville, and apparently I’ve heard that several people have asked friends about it when it got out that we would be moving eventually.
Wow, Virginia matches the rest of the country with crazy house prices. Apparently, you won’t have trouble selling you lovely home when you sell next year. I remember your pictures when you moved in. The house was beautiful and so were the grounds. Maybe it was springtime; I think daffodils may have been blooming. Thanks, Joan, it’s good to see you here! 🙂
That’s a gorgeous house – and a large one. What’s amazing is a house like that in the Boston area would be on the market for twice the price in PA, and three times the price in the SF Bay area! I feel sorry for those starting out, looking for their first home. Near ridiculous levels now. And for sellers, if you want to buy a house also, you may make some money on your “old” house, but you’ll have to spend it all for a “new” house. :-0
Yes, in large coastal cities (and some in between), you’ll need a million to get even a modest-sized house. I think I’ll stay where I am right now. Pam!
In April, when my sister and I were taking a walk, we spotted a Mercedes cruising down our street. The car was loaded with real estate people who jumped to ask us, “Do you want to sell your house?” They were serious! One good outcome: My sister visiting from PA was motivated to go back home and shortly thereafter put her house on the market, which sold in a few days. Just the push she needed, I guess, as the house her children had grown up in was way too large for her now. 🙂
First – Mercedes – realtors like vultures cruising a neighborhood. U G H! But, on the other hand, this became a great push for your sister, who made out with this housing economic turn. Kudos to her
She’s thrilled. Closing on her house next week, she’ll move into a new chapter of her life. She gets kudos from her big sister too. 🙂
And I’m sure big sister encouraged that move as well. We all need to add chapters to our book (of life) as challenging as that may be. xo
I urged the move earlier, but as it turned out, it was at just the right time! 🙂
Don’t get me started on home prices here in Wonderland. You can’t buy a delapidated garage for less than a million. It’s out of control. xx
You are absolutely right, Debby. But remember things go in cycles, and this crazy high market simply can’t last here or in Canada. “But then what?” I have to ask.
Speaking of Wonderland, do you remember Alice saying in frustration, “It would be so nice if something made sense for change?.” Amen to that!
All best to you, my friend, and hoping for a slow-down and a vacay very soon! 😀
Yep. You don’t have to tell me. Houses, trucks, RVs – the asking prices are extremely high right now and you need a good dose of patience and luck to make a purchase happen. Luckily, we did find a suitable pick-up truck that meets our purpose and expectations and, luckily, we don’t need a house right now.
Unfortunately, the deal we were working on for a small home in Mexico last spring fell through. If only that would have worked out as well, we’d be in a really good position right now. Oh well. We will have to keep living on the road. 🙂
The problem is: even if you are ready and convinced to sell your house – or vehicle – you face this crazy market on the other side as well, since you’ll need something new… Unless you are fortunate enough to have two homes or vehicles.
The pick-up is luxurious, and Mark looks full of pride, getting it in tip-top shape.
I’m sorry about the house you wished for in Mexico. I will spare you platitudes of consolation. Only this: Crazy cycles like this can’t last forever, and your wish for a house may be granted when you least expect it . . . serendipitously.
That would be grand. 😉
We’d love to move out of the city but can’t afford it! I’ve always wanted a limestone cottage or a brick farm house, but I suspect I will still be in our starter home for another 20 years. 🙁
Even if that is so, you cheer me up several times each week with your savvy posts, quirky quotes, and awesome photos on your blog. Yay!
Thanks for tuning in today, Jenn! 🙂
Oh, what a cool house! And to have connections to it. That must feel so great.
Hi, Luanne. I’m glad you enjoyed this post. You have the perfect name for this theme: A woman’s home is her castle. Right?
I see you are a poet and author with at least two mutual friends, Liz G. and Pamela W. Again, thanks for leaving a comment here, so appreciated. 🙂
Haha, yes the perfect name. Liz and Pam are great!
This is wonderful, Marian. What an amazing old house and how great that the history and details are being preserved. My old house is about 200 years old and has gone through many renovations. We didn’t try to save the original style because if was not elegant or fancy–but the land is elegant and the views are stupendous. The house is plain and beautiful with great porches and we added large windows that harmonize but aren’t antique. Real estate is hopping here because it’s a peaceful area and a 5 hour drive from New York City and 3 hours from Buffalo with a few other large cities about 90 minutes north. The value of our house and land was lowered quite a lot because we signed a conservation easement so no one could cut the old oak forest for profit or fill in the wet lands or develop the fields for condominiums. We decided we loved the land and the views and it was worth the price. I don’t regret the financial sacrifice since I plan to live here as long as I can–and now that one of my sons lives 3 miles away, my time here might be extended. I have roots here that will be 50 years old in 2022.
It’s amazing how connected you are to family history and how much has been preserved. I have a small family and my roots are right here. I so appreciate your stories.