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Home Values Rising in State College

Whether it’s on the wrestling mat, the volleyball court, or behind an épée (Brush up on your fencing lingo, we’re defending national champs), Penn State is no stranger to “Top Ten” rankings. Not to be left in the dark, Penn State’s neighbor to the south, State College, cared to join in on the fun.

Recently, State College placed eighth in Kiplinger’s “Ten Cities With Rising Home Values.” State College landed itself on the list by boasting some impressive numbers. Over the course of one year, the average $200,000 house in Happy Valley would gain 4.7% in home value – remarkable compared to the average of 18% drop everywhere else in the country.

So why are houses in State College of all places gaining value? Is the idea of endless sweet frat parties drawing in competitive buyers? Probably not. Is the idea of a secure, close-to-home job and stable economy doing the trick? Well, essentially. In case you haven’t realized, State College is in sort of an economic bubble. In fact, we got the nickname “Happy Valley” because we are so economically isolated that a little thing called the Great Depression didn’t even affect us. State College’s unemployment is forth lowest on the list at just above 5 percent – nearly half of the nation’s average. Naturally, State College’s top employer is Penn State. The employees that live here, whether it be professors or maintenance, tend to spend their money here, keeping it in the area.

A big part of why values of houses in State College continue to rise is due to the culture and desirability to live here. Annual events including Arts Fest, football season, and THON draw visitors – and their money – from all over the world. Aesthetically, State College and Penn State are both beautiful. Full of open green areas, giant old trees, and nicely kept buildings (looking at you, Allen Street Grill), State College offers a welcoming atmosphere to raise a family. The fact that State College was named the second safest metropolitan area in the country might add a little property value too.

Of the ten cities named, four were “college towns.” Tuscaloosa, Alabama ranked in at number seven – one ahead of us. We’ll let them win this one; we’ll have a more meaningful victory next September.

Knock on wood. No, really – do it.

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