Growing with diversity

Greater Reading Growing With Diversity

By Isamac Torres-Figueroa, BSBA, Realtor, United Real Estate Strive 212

Our community is growing, a sign that people want to live, work and play in Greater Reading, Pennsylvania. We may not have the 24-hour culture of our neighboring states, New York and New Jersey, but that has not stopped the migration of people to our region for the last few decades. Our trails, mountains and outdoor activities make this region a desirable place to live. You can get to New York City by car in under three hours – a huge attraction to future homebuyers. In addition to proximity to cities like Philadelphia and Jersey City, people are attracted to our region for the lower cost of living, excellent colleges and universities, employment opportunities and proximity to big cities like Philadelphia, Jersey City and New York City.

For years, real estate in Greater Reading has remained highly affordable compared to surrounding regions and states. The homeownership growth rate is affirmation. The constant demand for housing and a limited inventory of homes for sale during the pandemic was a driving force in residential property values skyrocketing in 2021. 

With this growth comes diverse people and cultures, a valued asset for any community. Greater Reading is home to a vibrant and diverse community made of different races and ethnicities, such as Latinos, Europeans, Africans, and Asians, a dichotomy of people with world experiences that enrich our region. The largest of these diverse groups are Latinos, many of whom decided to relocate to the Greater Reading area to build a better life for themselves and their families. According to the 2020 U.S. Census, the City of Reading – the heart of our region – nearly 70% of the residents identify as Latino/Hispanic. Many home and business owners in the City of Reading are Latino, natives of various Caribbean islands and countries such as Puerto

Rico, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Argentina, Guatemala and other South American countries. 

Imagine the diversity of food, language, culture, businesses, and festivals you can experience here in Greater Reading. It has been more than 250 years since the German, Italian, Polish, Irish and PA Dutch communities settled here in our region and their cultures are still strong today. Take for instance, Oktoberfest at the Reading Liederkranz, a popular German festival that draws in thousands to our area every October, and two national pretzel companies based out of our region. Berks County is home to well-known vineyards, local breweries and pubs found in the city and in West
Reading. We cannot leave out our public flea markets where all types of food and new/used items are sold. We also are home to some of the largest Latino festivals in the 222 corridor, such as the Puerto Rican Parade and Latino Festival held in September to celebrate Hispanic
Heritage Month features a one-day parade and festival that attracts thousands of visitors who enjoy the food
and music. 

Our community’s housing demand and diversity will continue to make Greater Reading region a desirable place to call home.