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Home Sales Leveling Out in Region

After years of declining home sales, it appears as though the housing market in Southwestern Pennsylvania is stabilizing.

In a report released Monday, the analysis group RealSTATs said the regional residential market declined from 2010 to 2011, but only by eight homes.

"In reality, the market would be more flat than declining," said RealSTATs Vice President Daniel Murrer. "What we envision in 2012 is that the number of home sales should pick up, based on what we saw in the last few months of 2011."

Murrer said the market picked up momentum after a poor showing in the first half of the year. He said much of the activity took place in the upscale home market in Butler County, where sales increased despite a high median price.

"And it's not just isolated to Butler," said Murrer. "The higher-priced markets in Allegheny and all of the counties are moving well, because with the tighter credit standards, it's the people who are within that market who have the ability to obtain the loans."

According to the report, the region's median home price rose just 0.8 percent to settle at $125,000 in 2011, while the average home price jumped 3.6 percent to $158,704. Murrer said those statistics indicate that higher-priced homes are selling faster than lower-priced homes.

"Lower-priced homes are selling, but it's the higher-priced homes that are selling at a pace more brisk than the lower-priced," he said.

Murrer called the findings of the report "encouraging."

"The hope would be that 2011 marks the last year of decline, and we start to see things turn around," Murrer said.