Nestled in the heart of Pennsylvania’s Poconos Mountains, the small, quaint town of East Stroudsburg represents something of an anomaly, a quiet mystery. You’ll find the area offers good schools, low crime, a university, excellent amenities, and a rustic bucolic setting — all packaged in a palpable suburban vibe. So, what’s the secret, the big catch?
Homes in East Stroudsburg are cheap because the 2008 mortgage crisis hit East Stroudsburg harder than most communities, depressing prices for a decade. They are cheap because local taxes have remained stubbornly high.
With prices still a bargain, you might wonder why under 10,000 residents currently live in East Stroudsburg (and only 80,000 in the greater “metro” area). You may even think East Stroudsburg might be the perfect, affordable hometown for you. Don’t worry. We have the details below and will break down the necessary data to determine why East Stroudsburg is so inexpensive — and if this hidden Keystone State gem should be on your radar.
What Price Factors Are at Work in East Stroudsburg?
As any seasoned real estate professional will tell you the driver of property values is location, location, location. East Stroudsburg is no exception. East Stroudsburg boasts notable pluses, but also definite minuses that keep the area affordable.
Major Positives in Favor of East Stroudsburg Prices
There are certain factors at work when determining the low prices of homes in East Stroudsburg.
- Today’s economy supporting East Stroudsburg is surprisingly diverse: Leisure/hospitality, health services, retail, transportation, utilities, education, and manufacturing are the leading employers.
- Monroe County, for which East Stroudsburg is the county seat, bills itself as a mecca for vacationing and romantic weekend getaways: The valleys and wooded hills of the Poconos have for generations hosted resorts with fishing, hunting, skiing, hiking, camping, and other sporting activities.
- East Stroudsburg is easily accessible by major highways and only 90 minutes from New York City: The town is adjacent to the Delaware Water Gap. The Appalachian Trail lies only 15 minutes away!
Remember, the trend is your friend. The trend at work so far in the first half of the 21st century has been Americans moving to where they have always vacationed. East Stroudsburg is perfectly positioned to benefit from this growing phenomenon.
Major Negatives Holding Back East Stroudsburg Prices
Cheap doesn’t necessarily mean a great deal, after all.
- East Stroudsburg, like many other U.S. towns, was badly hurt by the 2008 housing crisis. This area was slow to recover, so bank foreclosures dragged down prices for almost a decade.
- Homeowners who got into trouble often tried to negotiate a short sale with their lending institutions: Short sales allow houses to be sold for less than the mortgage balance, depressing the market.
- Local property taxes have seen hefty increases. Growing services cost money.
- Interest rates have been rising in 2022. This increases monthly mortgage payments which reduces affordability.
East Stroudsburg has experienced issues that have kept house prices suppressed. However, these factors are mostly on the wane. Foreclosures and short sales have declined noticeably in the recent strong housing market. Property tax hikes should be slowing as East Stroudsburg narrows the gap on needed services. Mortgage rates will likely be capped with the federal government desperate to service its own soaring debt.
Bottom line? The wind is now at the sails for East Stroudsburg house prices.
What Statistics Point to East Stroudsburg Houses Being Cheap?
Affordability is determined by two main factors, cost of living and home prices.
* The U.S. cost of living index is based on an average of 100. An amount below 100 would indicate East Stroudsburg is cheaper than the U.S. average. An amount above 100 means it’s more expensive:
Here’s how East Stroudsburg compares to all USA locales, plus nearby New York City:
|City||Median Home Price||Cost of Living Index|
|New York City||$654,300||168.60|
|East Stroudsburg, PA||$229,500||86.60|
Ouch! Long ago, New York City represented the future. But, as Yankee catcher Yogi Berra once famously said, “The future sure ain’t what it used to be.”
What is the History of Real Estate in East Stroudsburg?
Until the 1960s, East Stroudsburg was sleepy and rural. That kept house prices dirt cheap. The economy featured agriculture and manufacturing. Locals farming and working there naturally built homes around greater East Stroudsburg. However, the family automobile and an expanded post-World War II highway system eventually combined to change everything. During that decade, tourists and vacationers flocked to the scenic Poconos.
With all those out-of-towners spending money, Monroe County developed a new economy, one dominated by hospitality. Sure, most visitors from New York and Philadelphia returned home once their country excursions ended. However, wealthier guests did the inevitable — they bought vacation homes, and lots of them! East Stroudsburg’s housing market was transformed forever. However, vacation homes in the country always had a natural cap holding back prices.
So, what has changed? In 2022, more people are looking at the East Stroudsburgs of our country as a permanent place to live. Remember, the trend is your friend.
What Events Could Affect East Stroudsburg Values in the Near Term?
The COVID-19 pandemic greatly changed the way people work and live. Many employees have been given a chance to work remotely, which suddenly offers them the opportunity to live at some distance from the office. Telecommuting now affords many urbanites the option to seek “greener” pastures. East Stroudsburg qualifies as a green pasture — one comfortably within the reach of this new “virtual” lifestyle.
“They want safety from unrest, from disease [and] the ability to go somewhere and be isolated at this point,” states Staige Davis, the CEO of Four Seasons Sotheby’s International Realty.
Big-city quality of life issues threaten to only accelerate the migration. Rising crime, high taxes, poor schools, bureaucracy, congestion, and environmental concerns now conspire to depopulate major population centers. These fleeing urbanites will have to go somewhere. They’ll begin by considering where they’ve always vacationed.
In conclusion, barring some cataclysmic “black swan” event, the future of East Stroudsburg home prices seems fairly clear. The direction is solidly up, and cheap house prices there won’t last indefinitely!