Harrisburg / Lancaster County

Summary.  Harrisburg is the capital city of Pennsylvania and has a population of over 50,000 people, making it the ninth-largest city in Pennsylvania. Harrisburg lies on the east bank of the Susquehanna River, 105 miles west-northwest of Philadelphia and 204 miles east of Pittsburgh. The larger metropolitan area includes the City of Carlisle and portions of Lancaster County including the Cities of Lancaster, Elizabethtown and Hershey. The area has a vast array of neighborhoods and communities that reflect every available lifestyle. From private, waterfront homes, to golf course communities Harrisburg and the surrounding areas offer a wide choice of housing alternatives. The distinct suburban areas surrounding the city are all within minutes of a revitalized downtown Harrisburg however each is unique and must be valued as such.

Education.  School districts are often a determining factor when new residents begin their search for a home in the Harrisburg area. As such, they can have a direct impact on your valuation. The City of Harrisburg is served by the Harrisburg School District. A multi-year restructuring plan is aimed at making the district a model for urban public schools. The city also maintains one public charter school, the Sylvan Heights Science Charter School. In addition, Harrisburg is home to an arts-focused magnet school, the Capital Area School for the Arts. SciTech High, a regional math and science magnet school affiliated with Harrisburg University, also is open to students. The Central Dauphin School District, the largest public school district in the metropolitan area and the 13th largest in Pennsylvania, uses several Harrisburg postal addresses for many of the districts schools. It is important that your appraiser be familiar with the impact the school options have on your home’s value. Proximity to the extensive Catholic School network in the area with nearly 40 parish-driven elementary schools and seven Catholic high schools within the region can also play a part in valuations.

Culture.  Harrisburg is known as the “Capital City” and hosts the annual Pennsylvania Farm Show, the largest free indoor agriculture exposition in the United States. Harrisburg also hosts an annual outdoor sports show, the largest of its kind in North America, as well as an auto show, which features a large static display of new as well as classic cars and is renowned nationwide. As the cultural hub of central Pennsylvania, Harrisburg is home to the Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts, The Forum, National Civil War Museum, Reservoir Park and the Susquehanna Art Museum. Additionally, the development of downtown resulted in a surge of commercial development, making the city a destination for jazz-lovers. For those preferring classical music, the city is also home to the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra. In Harrisburg vicinity are over ten institutions of higher learning. Included in the list are Gettysburg College, founded in 1832, and the Widener University School of Law. The school boasts the highest rate of law graduates being admitted into the Pennsylvania Bar.

Commerce.  Harrisburg is a great place to live! In 2010 Forbes rated Harrisburg as the second best place in the U.S. to raise a family. Despite the city’s recent financial troubles, in 2010 The Daily Beast website ranked 20 metropolitan areas across the country as being recession-proof, and the Harrisburg region landed at No. 7. The financial stability of the region is in part due to the high concentration of state and federal government agencies. In addition, Harrisburg boasts a low cost of living that consistently ranks below the national average, making it possible for residents to own their dream homes. Harrisburg is the metropolitan center for some 400 communities. Its economy and more than 45,000 businesses are diversified with a large representation of service-related industries, especially health-care and a growing technological and biotechnology industry to accompany the dominant government field inherent to being the state’s capital. National firms either headquartered in the region or with major operations include Ahold USA, Arcelor Mittal Steel, HP, IBM, Hershey Foods, Harsco Corporation, Rite Aid Corporation, Tyco Electronics, and Volvo Heavy Machinery. The largest employers, the federal and state governments, provide stability to the economy. The regions extensive transportation infrastructure has allowed it become a prominent center for trade, warehousing, and distribution. All of these factors contribute to a unique and ever-changing housing market that requires a distinct local perspective.

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