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Black homeownership is declining in Pittsburgh amid rising home values, per new report

Katie Blackley
90.5 WESA

Black homeownership — along with the number of Black residents in the city — has declined in the city in recent years, as home values have sharply increased, according to a report released this week from the Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group.

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The result is a “Pittsburgh that is increasingly segregated by socio-economic status,” the report found.

“Pittsburgh does have that reputation for the most livable city, the most affordable city [for homebuyers], but that’s just not true for everyone,” John Boyle, the report’s author told WESA’s The Confluence.

Among the study’s major findings:

  • Pittsburgh’s Black population dropped by roughly 10,500 people, or 13.4%, between 2010 and 2020, compared to an overall 0.9% population decrease
  • During the same period, median home prices in the region increased significantly, from $88,000 in 2010 to $149,200 in 2019, a 69.5% increase
  • Homeownership dropped overall in Pittsburgh during the past decade, but the drop was more pronounced among Black homeowners than white ones, declining from 36.9% to 30.1%. (The homeownership rate for everyone decreased from 51.4% to 45.1% during that same time. For white households, it fell from 59.4% to 52.9%).
  • Corporate entities made up roughly one in six single-family residential housing purchases in 2020, up from one in nine
  • Of 2,321 mortgage applications submitted by Black applicants in Allegheny County, 46.8% ended in loans, compared to 40,186 loan applications submitted by white applicants with 67.1% loan approval in 2013.

PCRG Board President Jerome Jackson, executive director of Homewood-based Operation Better Block said the report’s findings were not surprising.

Both Jackson and Boyle said they fear the rate of Black homeownership could drop even further, as the report’s data predates the pandemic.

“It is unfortunately very possible that this is going to get worse…There’s definitely some concerning signs about where this is headed,” Boyle said.

The organization is calling for a statewide Community Reinvestment Act, as well as for the city to dedicate more resources to increase its affordable housing inventory.

Kate Giammarise focuses her reporting on poverty, social services and affordable housing. Before joining WESA, she covered those topics for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for nearly five years; prior to that, she spent several years in the paper’s Harrisburg bureau covering the legislature, governor and state government. She can be reached at or 412-697-2953.