I have an investor colleague that I'm having lunch with tomorrow, just to talk shop and shoot the breeze. He emailed me about an opportunity in Sharon, PA, which will be one of the things that we discuss. I had it in mind to stick to Pittsburgh and Allegheny County, but he found a place in Sharon (Mercer County) by the Case Elementary School District, which is supposedly top-notch and award winning. I don't know much about the area or the school, so I thought I'd throw it out to the BP Nation. Anybody familiar with the type of are that is? What class neighborhood and so forth? Any anecdotal or factual details about demographics and such would help guide the online research that I've started to piece together.
@Edward Shin I loved that you mentioned this town. You don't see it much on BP. I don't have statistical demographics in front of me, but I know it well and I would like to share with you what I know. Sharon, Mercer County, is sometimes lumped into the tri-county area that is the Youngstown-Warren-Western PA area- in the fact that we all still know each other, work together, and have the same local news stations. Collectively, this area of Ohio, just over the stateline from Sharon is referred to as Mahoning Valley. The areas in Mercer and Lawrence county are referred to as the Shenango Valley. Many of us that live around here travel back and forth over the stateline on a daily basis for work, family, shopping, doctors, anything.
I grew up in the small town to the immediate west of Sharon PA in the town called Brookfield, OH. One of our elementary schools back then was actually IN pennsylvania because it was just over stateline road on the west hill- that everyone knows is the best for sled riding! :)
Like I said, I do not have specific figures in front of me and I do not know how the numbers work on your prospective property, but let me tell you my perception of that area as someone who has lived a good majority of their childhood and young adult life in the area.
Sharon, PA is similar to the old days of Youngstown in the fact that it was primarily a mill town back in the day- also like nearby Farrell, PA and New Castle, PA. But it is on a much smaller scale than Youngstown. Every area has its good and bad areas, but Sharon does not have the problems that that you would find in the majority of city limits of Youngstown.Let me try to paint the picture for you. Imagine a small city (but feels more like a town because its pretty small), that has a small downtown that is walkable. New businesses have come in there in the past few years that are giving it more character and drawing people to come. Every summer, they have outdoor festivals called Water Fire, where they have the river that runs right through town lit up, along with bands, vendors, typical festival type stuff- brings a lot of people in. There are a few professional businesses downtown like some insurance and banking. The original Quaker State and Lube (famous wings place) is there. Also, a branch of Pennsylvania State University is there- Shenango campus. Sharon is a great place for young people, families, and blue-collar type workers to live if they do not have enough money to live in neighboring Hermitage, PA. This is what I think makes it great for investing. It sounds like the property you are looking at is near State St, which is the main artery from Sharon up through Hermitage. Hermitage is a wonderful area that has been recently ranking as a top suburban place to live in in Pennsylvania. If I can find that article again, Ill post it on here for you. Hermitage has been continuously growing in their business base. Buhl Park is also very near to Sharon Schools, and the park is actually considered Hermitage. It is a large park with lots of open green space, playgrounds, tennis courts, a community pool, and even a short holes free golf course. I believe the quality of life to be pretty good over there. And for people that cannot afford to buy one of the beautiful houses in Hermitage, love to rent in the nice areas in Sharon and Sharpsville that are close to all of those amenities. As always, tenant screening is a given no matter where you are, and the numbers have to work. Keep me posted on this! :)
Regarding the schools- I believe they are pretty decent too. Case Elementary's website says they are a 2011 Nationally Recognized Blue Ribbon School. I am not sure exactly what that means but appears they have been worth recognizing :) I know their sports programs like football and basketball have had success many years. I also know a few people that went to high school with me are teachers over there, and have been for awhile, so it seems they like it. Like most schools in this area, they are pretty community-oriented and people in these areas are close knit. It is not often that we hear anything bad on the news in that general area.
@Jen Kurtz What a great circumstance to have found you on BP! When I posted, I never thought I'd be able to converse with someone who actually had first-hand, personal knowledge of the area. Thank you for your reply and your insight. I really appreciate it and you.
It really does sound like a cute little area with a small town feel. The reason I posted in the first place was that the online research was either inconsistent with itself, or it didn't quite match up with what my friend was telling me. He mentioned the things that you were saying: nice part of town with good schools, B class asset, community feel, more owners than renters, good quality of life, etc. My research, however, seemed to suggest that it was a rougher area with potential crime problems, not-so-great schools, and a C class demographic. I chalked up the inconsistencies to it being a small town with a lack of true online representation, but I needed some more evidence to sway me one way or the other. In any case, thanks again, especially for the insight that it seems to lack some of the problems that might appear in rougher areas of other small city-towns. I'm looking at a SFH that is right off State St, just south of the high school, and depending on how this investment play pans out, I plan on adding it to my farm area for my PA investment portfolio.
Have you ever invested in that area?
AND, there is this:
@Scott Weaner Ha! I think I just found my reason to look more closely into Sharon. :)
Pa has higher property tax then across the boarder in Ohio. The worlds biggest shoe store is in Sharon.
Im about 15 miles North of Sharon...Feel free to pick my brain. Like any market, Sharon has its BAD areas.
Im actually thinking about starting to invest in the Hermitage area.
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