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Western Pennsylvania Housing Market Heats Up

The hot July temperatures this year reflected the sizzling housing market in Western Pennsylvania — with increases across the board.

According to the West Penn Multi-List Inc. residential real estate report, the number of homes under agreement during July this year was 4,104 compared to 3,392 homes in July 2012, an increase of over 20 percent.

George Hackett, President of the West Penn Multi-List Inc., said this is partly because of the improved economy.

“Many areas had a substantial downturn in pricing over the last half dozen years, now Pittsburgh didn’t have as big of a drop off, but we did have somewhat of a drop off, but we’ve caught up,” Hackett said. “I mean our average sale price now in Pittsburgh for the whole multi-list is higher than it was six, seven years ago.”

There has been over an 8 percent increase in new listings this July, and the sale prices are about 5 percent higher.

And they’re being sold more quickly. Houses were on the market for an average of 79 days this July, compared to 85 days in July 2012.

Hackett said four to six years ago, there were more homes on the market that weren’t selling, holding the prices down.

He said he thinks this prevented people from selling their houses because they didn’t think they would get a fair price. But this isn’t the case now.

According to Hackett, many people are looking at the houses being put on the market, which is leading to multiple sales and an increase in prices. Hackett said there are some areas in the 13-county region doing particularly well.

“Well Allegheny County would be probably the county that has the most sales," he said. "They usually have close to 50 percent of your sales take place in Allegheny County, and then of course Westmoreland’s very good and Butler’s very good, Washington County’s very good, so there’s a lot of areas that the pockets in all areas that are improving, and that’s been very good for everybody.”

But he said there really isn’t a county that is doing bad in the housing market.

“I can’t say that there’s an area doing the same as two years ago or a year and a half ago or worse," Hackett said. "I think every area’s doing better. The average prices are up in the whole multi-list, which is nice.”

Jess is from Elizabeth Borough, PA and is a junior at Duquesne University with a double major in journalism and public relations. She was named as a fellow in the WESA newsroom in May 2013.