Where property values are decidedly on the rise

702 Cedar Lane in Bedminster, Bucks County, is listed at $724,900. Value has been steadily rising.

One in a continuing series spotlighting real estate markets in the region's communities.

'Nice appreciation." That's the phrase Realtor Frank Dolski uses when describing Bedminster Township's real estate market.

In the last 12 "rolling" months, meaning October 2015 to the same month in 2016, prices rose an average of 4.5 percent, or $12,620, in this Bucks County township close to the eastern shore of Lake Nockamixon, says Dolski, an agent with Coldwell Banker Hearthside Real Estate in Lahaska.

FYI: You'll find Elephant, Pa., on the eastern shore of that lake, formed by damming the Tohickon Creek to create a reservoir.

Of the 102 home sales that went to settlement in the last 12 months, the average price was $373,316, he says.

To compare, in the 12 months that ended October 2015, there were 95 settlements with an average sale price of $360,353, says Dolski, who has been selling houses in Bedminster for many years.

"There is a decent inventory for sale," he says: 64 active listings with an average price of $593,000, a pool of homes that includes a good quantity of new construction.

Pending sales - homes under contract that go to settlement in 45 to 60 days - average $448,586, says Dolski.

That nice appreciation Dolski refers to is recent. Just a few years ago, there were few resales of new-construction homes that might have reflected an increase. Instead, sales of a lot of older houses were dominating the numbers.

"You are getting to see appreciation now that the first resales of the new houses built in the last 10 years are hitting the market," Dolski says.

Building is finishing in some of the communities, and prices are rising, he says: "The houses are appreciating like they always should have been."

Though many older developments are selling out - including Toll Bros.' Penn Land Farm, where homes are going for about $387,000 - there is still a lot of new construction underway, Dolski says.

John Garis Homes' Lin Wood, for example, is featuring houses in the mid-$400,000s from 2,300 to 2,900 square feet, he says.

Then there are Bedminster Square, Bedminster Hunt, and Bedminster Crossing.

Bedminster Square, built by Pulte Homes starting in 2007, features 100 townhouses, "neo-traditional homes" with alley garages and front-entry, single family homes.

Bedminster Hunt is a subdivision of townhouses and detached singles built between 2006 and 2009. Townhouses on Kulp Drive are by Piper Homes; other singles were built by NV Homes and Ryan Homes.

The detached singles range from 2,000 to 3,700 square feet, and the townhouses from 1,400 to 1,800 square feet.

Bedminster Crossing is a subdivision of detached single-family residences by NV Homes and Ryan Homes built about 2008.

Despite the new construction, Bedminster retains a rural appeal, thanks to the rambling older 19th- and early 20th-century homesteads and farms, as well as open space that had been maintained.

Though it still has a country feel, Bedminster offers an easy drive to the Pennsylvania Turnpike's Northeast Extension and employment in New Jersey.

"You can also scoot out to Route 313 and Route 314 to go shopping," Dolski says.

The attraction of Bedminster, he says, is that "you get more for your money than in nearby communities such as Solebury and Buckingham Townships."

In Bedminster, a house that costs $410,000 is going for $600,000 in Buckingham, he says. "The difference is that there is a little less land with the house in Bedminster than Buckingham."

All age groups are attracted to the township, including those elusive millennial buyers with new families who are attracted by the Pennridge School District.

"We also have people coming up from Warrington and Buckingham looking to downsize, although what they are buying isn't necessarily smaller, but just a place where you don't have to cut your own grass," Dolski says.

"There are serious first-time buyers, move-up buyers in their 30s and transferees who are looking for places much less expensive than Buckingham and Doylestown," he says.

"People are retiring, but at the same time choosing Bedminster to get away from it all."