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Millfording Highlands selling out — on to the Preserve

RSR Realtors partners hope to begin building homes in May on former Silver Spring Golf Course

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Millfording Preserve will be a 90-acre community near Millfording Highlands in Silver Spring Township, Cumberland County.
Millfording Preserve will be a 90-acre community near Millfording Highlands in Silver Spring Township, Cumberland County. - (Photo / Illustration/Submitted)

The countdown has begun for Lemoyne-based RSR Realtors.

By spring, it should have all remaining home lots in Silver Spring Township's Millfording Highlands under contract.

The focus will then be on Millfording Preserve, a 90-acre spinoff community near the Highlands on Sample Bridge Road that RSR principals also are developing.

RSR began marketing the latter — a 122-lot custom-home community — in 2008. The first homes settled in 2009.

"It's been pretty consistent," said Garrett Rothman, RSR's broker of record.

Last year, RSR sold 25 lots in the Highlands, including five purchased by the homebuilders in the community for speculative housing.

"I think builders are running out of inventory in terms of lots," he said. "We want to make sure they have something to sell coming into the spring market."

Builders for the community are Dauphin County-based Classic Communities Corp., Lancaster County-based EG Stoltzfus, and Cumberland County-based Sheely Homes Inc. and Fred Tiday Builders Inc.

RSR has sold more than 20 lots in each of the last four years in the Highlands, Rothman said. Seven lots remain without homes. Homes have ranged in the high $300,000s up to $700,000.

"We expect, by the end of spring, to have contracts on all lots, which is great timing," Rothman said. "We hope to be on to the Preserve."

Still finalizing

The new neighborhood will be built on the former Silver Spring Golf Course, which the investment team purchased last February for $1 million under the name Millfording Estates LP, according to Cumberland County property records.

Site work began at the end of 2013. Home construction could begin in May, unless weather and challenges with the infrastructure work delay it, said Sam Reed, a partner and head of land development for the group.

"It's difficult to give a timeline. We're not that far yet," said Reed, who also declined to answer questions about the size of the single-family homes and the price range.

The plan calls for 66 buildable lots and 54 acres of open space along the Conodoguinet Creek, according to Rothman and a plan brought before the township.

"It will be smaller lots than the Highlands, but more open space," Rothman said, who expects the lots to be quarter-acres and a lower price at the high end compared to the existing community.

Sales factors

Reasons for the fast pace of sales in Millfording Highlands — considering the relatively high prices — are numerous.

For one, Cumberland Valley School District has been in high demand for several years, especially from buyers relocating to the Harrisburg area for work, Rothman said.

"I bet 20 to 25 percent are relocations," he said of the sales in that community, whose homes can be seen from Interstate 81. "Most people who are moving there are corporate management-type positions. They can afford the $400,000 to $500,000 price point."

The No. 1 hurdle in home sales is often selling your current home, Rothman said. But relocation packages tied to many of these corporate jobs help ease that burden.

"I'm extremely optimistic," he added about future sales in the Preserve.

With neighboring Hampden Township nearly built out after decades of steady growth, Silver Spring is leading the way for housing development in the school district.

There were 253 residential building permits, including 168 for single-family units, issued in the township in 2012, according to county planning data. Both were highs for Cumberland County in 2012, the latest data available.

Between 2002 and 2012, Silver Spring trailed only Hampden in the number of permits with 1,916. Hampden totaled 2,161.

However, Silver Spring led the pack four out of five years between 2008 and 2012, according to planning data.

The proximity to Harrisburg, a competitive municipal tax structure and continued commercial growth along the Carlisle Pike all play a role in the pace of sales in that part of Cumberland County, Rothman said.

"Our plan is to continue with new development. We are actively looking for other land right now, especially in Cumberland Valley," he said, citing areas west toward Carlisle.

Millfording prices

The average sale price in Millfording Highlands last year was $443,132, said Garrett Rothman, broker of record for Lemoyne-based RSR Realtors.

That was up from $419,421 in 2012, $386,083 in 2011, and $390,529 in 2010.

That rise was mostly because bigger homes on larger lots were built last year, he said.

“Most lots we sold last year were more expensive, because they were on the Conodoguinet (Creek),” he said.

The average size of homes in Millfording Highlands is between 2,900 and 3,900 square feet. Some push 4,000 square feet.

Jason Scott

Jason Scott

Jason Scott covers state government, real estate and construction, media and marketing, and Dauphin County. Have a tip or question for him? Email him at jasons@cpbj.com. Follow him on Twitter, @JScottJournal. Circle Jason Scott on .

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