Housing holds steady

The value of most homes in York, Chester and Lancaster counties did not surge to astronomical levels as they did in many of the nation's major metropolitan areas. But when the housing bubble burst and values plummeted, the downturn skipped York County.

There is something to be said for moderation. York County residents may have been envious of soaring home values in major cities, which enabled owners to borrow heavily on equity loans and allowed real estate speculators to get rich overnight.

But the golden goose expired. Homeowners in prime real estate markets -- many of whom had bought homes with subprime loans assuming the good times would never end -- were left holding homes now valued well under what they paid for them.

But York County residents, by an large, escaped that scenario. According to data released recently by Standard & Poor's, home prices nationally dropped 4.7 percent in the third quarter compared to a year ago amid the national housing crunch. But in York, Chester and Lancaster counties, the average price of homes on the market has grown 10.7 percent since last year to $214,067, according to the Piedmont Association of Realtors.

Steady growth in Upstate South Carolina and in the area surrounding Charlotte in North Carolina have helped buffer the region from the roller-coaster ride that much of the rest of the nation has been on. Local sellers are getting their asking prices for homes; land prices are rising substantially and the number of homes sold is relatively steady compared to last year.

We didn't experience the highs they did in places such as San Francisco, Miami, Washington and other hot real-estate centers. But we don't have to endure the lows, either.