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Housing Market Continues to Strengthen in Pittsburgh Area

The housing market in southwestern Pennsylvania continues to strengthen, according to numbers released by West Penn Multi-List.

In October, the number of residential homes placed under agreement increased 15.07 percent; new listings increased 8.69 percent, and average days on the market decreased 4.82 percent over the previous month.

“The average sale price in this area is really escalating, and it is such good news to home sellers who, for years, have been downtrodden by the market,” said Barbara Kohl, chief operating officer for West Penn Multi-list. “Finally, we’re catching up and we’re catching up very well.”

When comparing January through October of this year with the same time period last year the news is also good with listings up across the board, though there is still room for improvement.

“We don’t have enough listings to sell, even though our listings have increased, it’s still not enough,” Kohl said. “We have people out there really searching in specific pockets of markets.”

In addition to the increase in home listings, a new report from online residential real estate site Trulia shows Pittsburgh is one of the areas in the U.S. where home ownership is still within reach for the middle class.

“Almost three-quarters of the homes for sale right now are within reach of the middle class,” said Jed Kolko, chief economist with Trulia. “Seventy-three percent of for-sale homes are within reach of the middle class. Now, the most affordable markets in the country were in Ohio.”

The report looked at homes for sale today that are in reach of the middle class, meaning the mortgage, taxes and insurance payment would be no more than 31 percent of a buyers’ income. Even though Pittsburgh prices remain within reach, the affordability of homes for the class has worsened over the last year.

“It’s worsened for two reasons,” said Kolko. “First of all, home prices are up in most of the country and mortgage rates are higher now than they were a year ago. Now in Pittsburgh it means that while 73 percent of the homes for sale today are within reach of the middle class, 76 percent of homes for sale a year ago were in reach of the middle class.”

Unsurprisingly, the least-affordable areas for middle class homebuyers are in New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles.