Marcus Hook feels effects of housing slump

MARCUS HOOK, Pa. - December 27, 2011

A new study released today shows home prices fell in 19 of 20 major U.S. cities last month.

The only exception was Phoenix.

This housing slump is hitting Marcus Hook especially hard, now that two local refineries could be closing.

On one small block in the Delaware County community, six houses are currently for sale.

Two years ago, the average selling price was $133,000, this year the average is $68,000, a whopping 40-percent drop.

If the Conoco Phillips and Sunoco refineries both shut down, as many fear, and workers loses their jobs, times could get a lot tougher.

"Everything is going straight down; our house is not going to be worth anything. I don't know what we are going to do," homeowner Brandi Hess said.

Realtor Ray Moise is already fielding calls of homeowners anxious about what will happen to home prices if the refineries close.

"The word they use is they were 'scared about the future' like they have never been scared before," Moise said.

Moise worries there could be a ripple effect; many refinery workers live outside Marcus Hook.

He thinks prices could drop in "Linwood, Trainer, Aston, Upper Chichester, Lower Chichester, perhaps parts of Delaware."

In Marcus Hook, even those not thinking of selling understand why neighbors might sell sooner than later.

"People just don't see a really good outlook for this area and are getting out, and for a lack of a better word, while the getting is good, because the getting's not even really all that good right now," resident Carl Lauginiger said.

Everyone here is hoping for the best, that someone will buy the refineries, and work will continue, but right now no one can say if that hope will become a reality.

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