Places to Live in the Poconos
|Where you live in the Poconos has a relationship to the demographics of the people who surround you. In the western and northern Poconos (West of Lake Naomi and northwest of Milford) neighborhoods have a larger percentage of vacation homeowners.||
This is directly related to the distance from New York City and Philadelphia. Beyond 1.5 hours commuters generally do NOT buy, but vacation homeowners like the "2 hour" distance as it is just a little more remote and rural. Vacation homeowners in the western Poconos tend to be from Philadelphia and points south. Vacation homeowners in the northern Poconos tend to be from New York City, Long Island and Northern NJ. Vacation owners in the center (near Camelback) are a blend of NYC vacationers and Philly vacations.
Home values are subject mostly to the general economy. However there are four distinct markets which effect the values of homes in the region.
First and the smallest market is the local move up market. Unlike major metropolitan areas where this market is the dominating market, in the Poconos this is one of the smallest. Most locals tend to stay put once they have selected a home.
Second, there is a market, which is about 15% of total sales, of retirement buyers. People select the Poconos as a place to live in retirement because the cost of living and housing is less than the metropolitan areas of New York and Philly. Yet, it is close enough that they can still keep in touch with their friends and relatives. Many buy so that their grand kids can come and visit and enjoy the outdoor activities that the region offer. And, some buy a smaller home here and a retirement home down south where they split their time.
Third, commuters make up a reasonably large percent of the local population and homeowners. With Rt I-80 as the direct access to large employment areas of Northern NJ and NYC and low costs, folks find the Pocono region to be the only alternative to affordable housing. With hundreds of buses leaving each day for the city, commuters find it easy to get back and forth to their jobs.
The fourth market is the vacation home and second home market, terms which we usually use interchangeably. This market has been the driving factor in the Poconos region for over 100 years. Convenience to over 23,000,000 people living in New Jersey (both North and south), New York City, Long Island, Philadelphia, Baltimore, southern Pennsylvania, and Northern Maryland make the Poconos region with its skiing, lakes, river, mountains and streams the ultimate choice for vacation homeowners seeking either the ambience of the Mountains or for a low cost alternative to high beach prices. This home owning segment has a sub segment of vacation homeowners who rent their homes to other vacationers in order to pay for the home. About 20% of buyers of vacation homes depend upon rental income to carry the property. Since the Poconos has a high number of visitors each year, there is an active home rental market. Indeed, there are a number of people who make renting multiple homes an investment business. Actively renting up to 10 homes and using the rental income to pay for the homes with the expectation of owning them free and clear and expecting to sell them later as retirement income.
So. where to live?
Here are our Picks for the Top Poconos Neighborhoods:
Best Vacation or Retirement Community
Pinecrest Lake and Country Club. Pocono Pines PA. A neighborhood with everything. Golf, pristine lake, outdoor pool, excellent (maybe the best in the Poconos) tennis facility, good management, homes with award winning design, and a great location on top of the Pocono Plateau with its unique weather system allowing for cooler breezes in the summer and more snow in the winter. Pinecrest is also, easy to get to from either New York of Philadelphia and is convenient to skiing at Jack Frost or Camelback. Less than 6 miles to the Mt Airy Casino and minutes to river activities on either the Lehigh or Delaware rivers. Homes are constructed with better than average materials and labor and are situated in quiet alcoves of Mountain Laurel and Pines.
There are some second runner ups to this catagory. ... Like Lake Naomi also in Pocono Pines, PA. The Good the Bad and the Ugly about Lake Naomi: Good, Great location in the geographic center of the Poconos region, about 2 hours to both Philly and New York City, Lots of activities in and around the community, beautiful lake and community center, and well respected management. The Bad: some older stock of housing with many, at this point, needing renovation. The Ugly: the cost, the cost, the cost. There is a high entrance fee and to get access all of the amenities is also VERY expensive (Up to 10K per year) and this is on top of taxes.
Another second runner up is Hemlock Farms. Gated, well run, lots of community activities, and reasonable fees. Hemlock Farms would be the number one community, bar none, except that there is no skiing in the immediate area and the travel distance to this activity is over 1/2 hour.
USA Realty services and can help you find the right home for your family in any of the above neighborhoods. 570-517-2428
Best Unknown Place to Live
Cherry Valley - Some hope to designate part of this quiet rural area as a 20,000-acre National Wildlife Refuge. I've always related driving through Cherry Valley as like driving through West Virginia. A valley surrounded by high hills of maples, pines, and oak trees. The valley floor is a patchwork of working farms and country estates. Very small villages (some with less than 10 homes) make up the social network Yet all this is within a minutes of Stroudsburg and Allentown and less than 2 hours from Manhattan. There are no "communities" in Cherry Valley since it is a geographical region comprised of Smithfield, Stroud, Hamilton and Ross Townships, and many small villages. There is no good way to find a home in Cherry Valley online (one of the reasons that it is quiet and nice) other than to call a local Realtor and ask for a list in your price range. (USA Realty can help 570-517-2428)
Best All Around Low Priced Vacation Home Neighborhood
Pocono Farms Community Association (note not Pocono Farms East) This community has homes from the low 100's, paved roads, community water, a small lake, a nice pool and tennis complex, good management, a golf course, low dues, and a sense of community.It's about 2 hours from Manhattan and 2 from Philly. Skiing, casino, more golf, state parks and the big Lake - Wallenpaupack are all close by. Local Pocono Farms Real Estate web site.
We might runner up this with Arrowhead Lakes. Gated, lots if amenities and close to 3 ski resorts and waterparks.
Best Lake Vacation Communities
Lake Naomi and Hemlock Farms - Tie - Best places for Sailors, Swimmers and kids. The lake at Lake Naomi is the primary attraction. It is the third or fourth largest in the region and has the correct climate for sailing. (on Top of the Plateau where the wind is consistent and cooler). Lake Naomi has just completed an indoor recreation center with kids programs, indoor pool, tennis, water slide and more. As a vacation (not retirement or year around home) these are the top picks. We might add that there are more ranch homes per square mile in Hemlock Farms than anywhere else in the Poconos, so there are more retirees here than many other places.
Best Place for a Ski / Winter Home.
Northridge at Camelback (aka Four Seasons at Camelback) - Close to the largest and most active ski resort and summer water park in the Poconos and yet only about 20 minutes from the other four major ski and winter resorts (Jack Frost, Big Boulder, Shawnee and Blue Mountain) Most ski homes here were designed by Bill Deveraux one of the nations leading home architects and constructed to pretty high standards, at least in the older Northridge homes. The community is well run, has a good mix of New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia owners and has the best rental potential of any community in the mountains.
Best Placed to Buy a Home for the Motor Boater
Lake Harmony - This one gets a little tricky. There are three places in the reachable Poconos (2 hours from NYC and Philly) that you can motor boat. Lake Hauto with few homes and is the furthermost away, Lake Wallenpaupack, the largest lake in the region and Lake Harmony. Each has its flaws and each could be right for your boating crowd, but they are VERY different. Lake Hauto, besides being far, has little around it for the kids or grand kids, is a medium sized body of water, could get boring and has few homes on the water. Lake Wallenpaupack is regulated by Pennsylvania Power and Light with its own set of restrictions, while there are some other activities around the lake, there's not much for kids to do here either. Lake Harmony, the smallest of these WILL get boring for the motor boater, BUT has indoor water parks, skiing, a great variety of restaurants and shops, whitewater rafting, paint ball and many more things to do close by.
Best Place(s) to Live or Vacation for the Sportsman
Blue Heron Lake (Dingman's Ferry PA NOT the one in Hawley)- This one is NOT tricky. With its 500 plus acres of common land, being surrounded by thousands and thousands of acres of state lands and hunting clubs, a limited membership, the ability to ride ATVs onsite, a great quantity of game, a clay shooting range, a 200 plus acre private lake, and an attitude that is a cross of Paul Bunyon and Ralph Lauren, Blue Heron is a sportsman's paradise. Folks here are a little picky about who they want as neighbors (a good thing), have a passion for the outdoors, an even greater passion for privacy (someone from there will probably call me and ask to have this award removed), and have allowed only 60 or so homes of varied size and type. and Yeah, we know Porter's lake is better, but neither you or I will get a chance to buy at Porter's. There are actually two other choices for sportsman White Heron Lake and Poconos Springs - each of these has a unique
Best Values in Commuter Homes in a Community
Penn Estates - The downturn in the economy has meant that homes in Penn Estates have suffered more than homes in many other neighborhood. There are some GREAT buys in Penn Estates, a community with lakes, pools, tennis, clubhouse and varied community activities. Originally designed and built at a vacation home neighborhood, it now has mostly year around residents. With its mixture of contemporary and tradtional home designs and wooded lots. this neighborhood feels different than many other "cookie cutter" communities. For families looking for bargains in larger homes Penn Estates may be the answer.
Actually, anywhere in the East Stroudsburg school district is within reasonable commute to NYC or northern New Jersey. Fill out this form with a description of the ideal home and we will send you a short list that meets your criteria.
Rick Golden, Broker USA Realty, Poconos Office 570 517 2428