News Briefs…

Information provided by Suburban Realtors Alliance

General News

Regional differences in the hourly wage required to rent a two-bedroom apartment
The National Low Income Housing Coalition has released a report, “Out of Reach 2015,” that describes the regional differences in the hourly wage required to pay for a two-bedroom apartment, and plotts them on an interactive map. Pennsylvania is the 20th most expensive state to rent a two-bedroom apartment, with an average hourly wage of $17.57 needed to afford the rental. Other high-rent areas are Hawaii, Alaska, Washington, the District of Columbia and a large cluster of states in the Northeast. In those places, renters would have to earn more than $20 per hour, nearly three times more than the current minimum wage of $7.25, and $5 more than the estimated average wage of $15.16 earned by renters nationwide, according to the report. Locally, the Philadelphia region demands the highest hourly wages for two-bedroom apartment rentals in the state, at $22.23. The nonprofit National Low Income Housing Coalition advocates for public policy supporting affordable and decent homes for America’s lowest wage earners.
Source: Limerick Patch; 6/5/2015 introduces School Scores
With the importance of school districts weighing heavily on the minds of families looking to move, is offering a new feature to help them. School Scores provides a ranking system for buyers and sellers to find and compare local school information. The system aids customers in determining the value of schools in their search area. The School Score is calculated from state test performance data of public schools, and assigns a letter from A+ to D based on rank. “As the trusted guide for consumers in the real estate transaction, Realtors® need reliable sources of information that they feel confident in sharing with their clients. This system offers ranking and scoring that both consumers and real estate professional alike can understand and use,” said Dave Mele, president of To check out School Scores, visit offers a variety of free resources for Realtors®, including free leads, consumer Q-and-A, local visibility, customizable consumer guides, webinars, educational resources and widgets.
Source:; 6/10/2015

Bucks County

SEPTA, DVRPC looking into extending passenger rail service into Pennridge area
A rail line that has not carried passengers for decades has caught the attention of SEPTA officials and the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission. SEPTA and DVRPC have begun to study the feasibility of restoring passenger rail service from Lansdale toward Quakertown, possibly to a midpoint in West Rockhill Township. “Although the SEPTA Bethlehem Branch has been inactive as a passenger rail service for over 30 years, planning studies have been conducted over the past five years to explore the viability of returning service to as far as Pennridge, Bucks County, south of Quakertown,” said SEPTA in a statement. According to Brad Lane, senior transportation engineer in DVRPC’s Office of Modeling and Analysis, re-examination of the project was “partly” thanks to increased transportation funding from Act 89, the state transportation bill signed into law in late 2013. DVRPC will likely finish its updated ridership forecasts sometime this summer, at which point SEPTA could begin formally seeking public feedback. “We would love to see passenger rail service come back to these small towns, because it’s clearly an advantage to economic development in your downtown, said Telford Borough Manager Mark Fournier. “It’s evident and known that your property values increase significantly within a set distance from the railroad,” he said.
Source: Perkasie News Herald; 6/10/2015

Average Pennsbury tax increase expected to be about $138
Property taxes in the Pennsbury School District could go up an average of about $138 in the coming school year, according to district Business Administrator Daniel Rodgers. The 2.85 percent increase would bring Pennsbury’s millage to 157.77 mills. Act 1, the state’s property tax relief law, will allow the board to increase the district’s millage rate 1.9 percent. In addition, the board has secured state exceptions to raise the millage a few more mills, if needed, to help cover special education and retirement payment costs. The increase is needed to help cover an estimated $3.6 million budget deficit.
Source: Bucks County Courier Times; 6/4/2015

Doylestown Ridge eyed for water and sewer lines
Doylestown Township is considering public water along with the sewer lines already planned for approximately 256 homes in the Pebble Ridge neighborhood. In 2013, the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) told the township to “move the sewer project forward” because of poor soil drainage in the Pebble Ridge area and fecal coliform bacteria and animal waste affecting groundwater and streams in the area because of malfunctioning septic systems. Supervisor Rick Colello told other board members at a recent meeting that if and when the sewer lines in the Pebble Ridge and Wood Ridge neighborhoods are installed, it might be a good time to add public water as well. “If the sewer project goes through, we’re looking to see if it’s feasible (to add water lines),” he said, since having the road already dug up for the sewers would make it much easier to install water pipes at the same time. Colello is the supervisors’ liaison to the Doylestown Township Municipal Authority, which suggested looking into the possibility of adding water for some or all of the streets where sewers are proposed. Engineering field work on the sewer project is being completed and easements are being obtained. Once the easements are obtained, the township can bid out the project.
Source: The Intelligencer; 6/2/2015

Central Bucks approves $311.5 million budget
The Central Bucks school board approved a $311.5 million budget for the 2015-16 school year that calls for no tax increase. The budget calls for a millage rate of 124.1 mills. A home assessed at $40,000 and registered for a homestead exemption can expect a tax bill of $4,770.34. Over 30,000 homes and farm owners in the school district are registered for the homestead and farmstead exemption, which is $193.56 for this year. The exemption comes from gambling tax proceeds collected by the state. According to district Business Administrator David Matyas, the gambling deduction is less this year because gambling tax proceeds to the state are down while the number who have applied for the discount is up.
Source: The Intelligencer; 6/9/2015