If you’ve ever watched a snowball accelerate down a hill of freshly fallen snow and grow exponentially in size, as more and more snow clings to its surfaces, you could be visualizing a metaphor for the explosive swell of homebuyers rolling into town and snatching up new construction in Chester County faster than throngs of building crews can keep up. And the end is nowhere in sight, as nearby Philadelphia and even New York City are very generously feeding the frenzy.
While existing home inventory hovers at an all-time low, demand for housing is booming. Somewhat paradoxically, one might have imagined that the pandemic and economic conditions would have squelched activity in the real estate market, yet Exton is awash with new development, and the masses of homebuyers are lining up in droves – 700 deep, in one case, for a single new complex in Exton’s Lochiel Farm with only 142 units to offer! Often with cash in hand, and sometimes even willing to forego inspections and appraisals, buyers in record numbers are determined to lay claim to their treasured slice of suburbia.
Maybe it should come as little surprise that, in spite of record-high home prices, equally striking lows in mortgage rates, combined with a pandemic-fueled passion for the extra outdoor living space and coveted work-from-home office that millennials and more seasoned professionals crave, Chester County is jumping! What was already an attractive, amenity-rich, upscale region is sprouting new developments – many in the form of condos and apartments – on what seems like every street corner.
Managing the growth will be a delicate balancing act between preserving the charm that many associate with this thriving community and embracing the influx of new residents in a responsible, sustainable fashion. Preserving green space and air quality, expanding mass transit options, and exploring other environmentally-friendly enhancements like bike paths and walkable multi-use developments are among the challenges that planners, developers, and citizens must come together on, to ensure that Chester County emerges as a success story in 2021 and beyond.