PA Turnpike toll hike

PA Turnpike toll hike impact on Real Estate

The PA Turnpike toll hike – toll fares up 6%  in 2018

It’s become customary to find yourself paying more for the same every year with the PA Turnpike. Back in July 2017, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) took it upon themselves to increase yet again the rate for travelers on the PA Turnpike. The new PA Turnpike toll hike is set to take effect Jan. 7, 2018 @ 12:01 AM and will have a longer term impact on real estate.

New 2018 PA Turnpike Toll HikeWhy 2018 is so important is due to the commission approving a rate hike not only in 2018 but EVERY YEAR for the next 27 years. That’s right – 27 MORE YEARS of increasing fares – through the year 2044. The PA Turnpike Fare Hike is not only to pay for maintenance and subsidize mass transit, but pay interest on more than $11 billion in toll-revenue bonds financing previous payments for road maintenance and mass transit. The debt the state is carrying created a need to fund increasing debt service levels.

Yet in the region, as the new PA Turnpike rate increase hits the wallets of consumers, it also hits impacts truck travel through the state. The PA Turnpike traffic levels only grew 0.3 percent over the last year – well below the Federal Highway Administration’s national average of 1.79%. This has also created increased competition and use of free PA interstate highways such as RT I-80 that runs across the northern part of the state and for region roads including I-78 and I-81. In the Lehigh Valley alone, there’s great competition for warehouse space from Advance Auto, Amazon, Uline, Walmart and dozens of other companies. There’s also a bid fora Lehigh Valley Amazon HQ2 that is expected to be announced this year with Bethlehem in the running alongside Philadelphia.

What the free interstate competition creates are the following scenarios that impact real estate buyers in the Philadelphia region:

1) The yearly new PA Turnpike toll hike impacts the commenting budget for homeowners in the Delaware and Lehigh Valley.
2) The increase in transportation also impacts the costs of goods & services putting a further dent into homeowners and renters budgets.
3) The increase traffic on free interstates creates more traffic and congestion, increasing travel time to work.
4) The increase in suburban traffic and congestion will also lead to higher use of public transportation and help fuel migration back into the cities including Philadelphia, Reading, Allentown, Bethlehem & Easton.
5) Transportation concerns by a home buyer are top on their list of issues they consider when buying a home including the location of their home (proximity to work) and what they can afford (their budget).

“Rail and bus rapid transit provide all kinds of benefits—reduced cost, time, and stress for commuters; cleaner air; more walkable neighborhoods—that can be translated into dollars and factored into property values.” Transport Reviews

These trends will impact home pricing / property prices and availability in the next decade throughout the region. Any new PA Turnpike toll hike and toll fare increase does more than fund debt and repairs of the roads. It also has a direct impact on homeowners alike.

There will be no 2018 increase for E-ZPass or Toll By Plate customers at the Delaware River Bridge westbound cashless tolling point in Bucks County. January 17, 2018

If you’re looking for a good realtor to list & sell your home, contact us today. We’d appreciate your business.

Cost vs Value 2017

2017 Cost vs Value Home Remodel Project Report

2017 Cost vs Value
Home Remodel Project Report

Every year we try to bring you the most current information possible about your home or property. This includes an annual look at our updated 2017 Cost vs Value Home Remodel Project Report. In years past, the cost vs value report shows a variety of factors

you’re shared are important to you. This year, we’ve attempted to keep the information to more of a list view so you can help answer the question that matters most to you: what can I do to improve the value of my home?

2017 Cost vs Value Home Remodel Project Report

The first group of projects are those small to medium size projects.

Cost vs Value: Small to Medium Size Projects 2017

Small to Medium Size Projects (National Average)Job CostResale ValueCost Recouped
Attic Insulation (fiberglass)$1,343 $1,446 107.70%
Backup Power Generator$12,860 $6,940 54.00%
Backyard Patio$51,985 $28,546 54.90%
Basement Remodel$71,115 $49,768 70.00%
Bathroom Addition$43,232 $23,283 53.90%
Bathroom Remodel$18,546 $12,024 64.80%
Deck Addition (composite)$17,249 $11,252 65.20%
Deck Addition (wood)$10,707 $7,652 71.50%
Entry Door Replacement (steel)$1,413 $1,282 90.70%
Family Room Addition$89,566 $62,055 69.30%
Garage Door Replacement$1,749 $1,345 76.90%
Major Kitchen Remodel$62,158 $40,560 65.30%
Manufactured Stone Veneer$7,851 $7,019 89.40%
Master Suite Addition$119,533 $77,506 64.80%
Minor Kitchen Remodel$20,830 $16,699 80.20%
Roofing Replacement$20,664 $14,214 68.80%
Siding Replacement$14,518 $11,093 76.40%
Two-Story Addition$176,108 $125,222 71.10%
Universal Design Bathroom$15,730 $10,766 68.40%
Whether it’s a small or large project, consult the small to medium size project list to compare what you can plan to recoup from the remodeling job before you begin. These values tend to charge slightly year over year depending on the price of materials and labor.

Next, we tackle the larger projects.

Cost vs Value Medium to Large Size Projects 2017

Medium to Large Size ProjectsJob CostResale ValueCost Recouped
Bathroom Addition$81,515 $46,507 57.10%
Bathroom Remodel$59,979 $35,456 59.10%
Deck Addition (composite)$39,339 $22,171 56.40%
Entry Door Replacement (fiberglass)$3,276 $2,550 77.80%
Garage Door Replacement$3,304 $2,810 85.00%
Grand Entrance (fiberglass)$8,358 $5,855 70.10%
Major Kitchen Remodel$122,991 $76,149 61.90%
Master Suite Addition$250,687 $150,140 59.90%
Window Replacement (vinyl)$15,282 $11,286 73.90%
Window Replacement (wood)$18,759 $13,691 73.00%
Before you start your next medium to large project, compare what you can plan to recoup from the remodeling job before you begin. And remember, it’s hard to put a price on the enjoyment the update, upgrade or replacement will bring to you and your family – whether or not you plan to sell your home in the future.
Cost vs Value Remodeling Mid Atlantic Region

Homes throughout Pennsylvania, NJ, DE and Maryland closely align to national remodeling prices.

Cost vs Value Remodeling Mid Atlantic Region

Homes and properties in the Mid-Atlantic region closely follow the national average for recouping your investment in your next project. No matter what you plan to do to your home or property, such as sell vs repair, be sure to get multiple detailed bids from licensed contractors with strong references from sites like At the end of the day, when you come home from work, your home is your palace. Enjoy what these projects can do to your home and for your family.

While this year’s 2017 Cost vs Value Home Remodel Project Report analysis may only make you wonder IS THIS IS THE HOME I WANT TO INVEST IN? … then maybe you need a second opinion. Home Marketsite agents are ready, willing and available to help you determine what you can get for your home on the market. We can also help determine a solid return on investment from your home. And if you’re looking for a good realtor to list & sell your home, contact us today. We’d appreciate your business.

HomeOwnership the American Dream

How will Tax Reform affect real estate taxes?

How will Tax Reform affect my real estate taxes?

Published: October 20, 2017
Updated: 11/6/17 and 12/2/17

Updated December 2, 2017

Early Saturday morning, the U.S. Senate passed their version of the tax bill by a vote of 51-49. The House version of tax reform passed on November 16. This epic bill was to address disparity for corporations but also has other effects on homeowners and tax payers across the board. It officially will change the face of homeownership in this country for decades to come and you’ll see how will Tax Reform affect my real estate taxes.

A last-minute change to the Senate version would make up to $10,000 in property taxes deductible for the small number of homeowners who would still be itemizing. This change specifically aligns with the property tax cap set in the House bill.

The main difference for homeowners is that the Senate version retains the deductibility of mortgage interest payments on up to $1 million of indebtedness; the House version caps indebtedness at $500,000 for those who would be itemizing their taxes.

Now, members of the House and Senate must meet to agree on a final bill. However, it’s not too late to make your voice heard by telling members of Congress that incentives for homeownership and the capital gains tax exclusion on the sale of a home MUST be protected.

Published October 20, 2017

With all the recent news surrounding the current administrations desires to spur tax reform for all US taxpayers, we felt it would be helpful to describe what COULD happen as the result of certain reform and explain how will Tax Reform affect real estate taxes and homeownership, the American Dream.


It has been reported by REALTORS throughout the country, including NAR (National Association of REALTORS) that the recent discussions around simplifying the tax code will

HomeOwnership the American Dream

in fact have an immediate impact on those who own homes. Many homeowners may actually lose their ability for federal income tax deductions – IF – the proposed legislation in Congress is passed in its current form (as of October 2017).

Over the past several decades, homeownership has decreased. While it’s currently moving upward, this increase in home owners may peak as a new tax code is embraced by Congress. The homeownership rate reached a peak of 69.2 percent in June 2004. A few years later, the housing crash caused credit to tighten and resulted in millions of Americans losing their properties to foreclosure. While the recent news of tax reform may have a negative impact on homeownership, it certainly is becoming more stable and healthy again just ten years after the major crash. Any tax reform affect real estate taxes in the way of changing deductions. Here’s a current look at the movement toward owning a home again.

HomeOwnership Rates 2016-2017

The number of those who own their home (legally known as real property) do so using a mortgage to help split up their payments. In addition, one of the benefits today is the home owner can also write off the amount paid in interest on these loans and the real estate taxes paid while living in the home. This can add up to substantial amount of savings to the owner versus the one renting a property.


So with a current proposal by President Donald Trump to raise the standard tax deduction, those who bought with the hope of these dedications may find out that they disappear in favor of broad tax reform. The long tail analysis may actually help increase homeownership in the long run because it will put more money into the pockets of Americans and give renters more incentive to save a down payment.

The current plan is expected to double the standard deduction and eliminate all personal deductions. The exceptions in the bill being proposed and discussed would be the deductions currently enjoyed by home owners for the Mortgage Interest Deduction and the deduction for charitable contributions. What it eliminated is the state deduction for state and local taxes.

While it sound promising that the mortgage interest can still be deducted, by doubling the standard deduction, they’ve also lowered the number of people who would be eligible to claim the Mortgage Interest Deduction with a proposed number shrinking to just the top 5 percent of all taxpayers.

As a REALTOR and PA real estate brokerage, we are alerting our local and state representatives that we are opposed to attempts to limit or eliminate tax incentives for homeownership and real estate investment. We know how tax reform affect real estate taxes in more ways than just a tax break.

UPDATE (November 6, 2017 after the proposal was made public with revisions)

“By eliminating or nullifying the incentive for homeownership, Realtors® are concerned that homeownership’s wealth-building potential could be pushed out of reach. The proposed tax reform caps the mortgage interest deduction at $500,000 for newly purchased homes. The legislation also eliminates state income tax deductions altogether, while installing a new cap on property taxes. At the same time, the proposal puts new restrictions on the capital gains exemption homeowners utilize today when they sell their home. The exemption is vital to allowing homeowners to use their equity to pay for retirement and other long-term needs. Tax hikes and falling home prices are a one-two punch that homeowners simply can’t afford.”
Kathy McQuilkin, CRS, GRI, SRES, CRP, CSP, ALHS
2017 Pennsylvania Association of Realtors® President


Homeowners already pay 83 percent of all federal income taxes.
Analysis shows that homeowners with incomes of $50,000 to $200,000 would face average tax hikes of $815 in the year after enactment (PricewaterhouseCoopers).
Non-homeowners in the same income range would enjoy average annual tax cuts of $515.

Since current homeownership is at an all-time low, we desire to see everyone who can afford the opportunity to afford a home be able to participate in the real estate market. With this new plan, it appears that fewer consumers will realize a financial benefit from owning a home. Sure renters will have more money in their pocket to possibly apply toward a down payment. But current homeowners will likely see a hike in their taxes.

Tax Reform affect real estate taxes


And as a result of this tax reform, PwC predicts home values will fall, in the short run, by more than 10 percent. The drop could be even larger in high-cost areas and it could take years for home values to rebound from this significant decrease. When you reduce the deduction, you reduce home affordability since you remove the extra deductions currently available.

Any reform of this type has an immediate and long term impact on the real estate market. Most people will not see this type of impact immediately, but once it works itself through a few years of tax returns and home buying seasons, the market will respond. It always does.

So before the real estate market corrects itself in response to a new tax code, pick up the phone and respond direct to your local and state representatives in congress today. Make sure they keep these deductions and other real estate vehicles currently available including Like-Kind exchanges. The Section 1031 provision encourages growth by permitting real estate held for investment to be exchanged for property of a like kind on a tax-deferred basis. These exchanges are essential to the commercial real estate sector and to the economy.

Thanks for participating in the conversation – homeownership and home prices may depend on it.