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Building Innovation is a collection of stories by 90.5 fm WESA reporters about the Pittsburgh region focusing on efficient government operation, infrastructure and transportation, innovative practices, energy and environment and neighborhoods and community.

A Seller's Market For Many Pittsburgh Area Homeowners

More homes in the Pittsburgh area were purchased in June compared to a year ago. They sold more quickly and at a higher price, according to a report from the West Penn Multi-List, which tracks the housing market.

The average sale price was about $200,000 and the homes were on the market for an average of 112 days — 35 fewer than this time last year. The number of homes put up for sale in June increased by 3.6 percent last month compared to June 2014.

“There’s still a pretty tight market in a lot of areas,” said Tom Hosack, president of both the West Penn Multi-List and Northwood Reality. “[There are] multiple offers (and) competition to buy the home. So we certainly would like more, but at least it’s starting to trend upward."

Mt. Lebanon, Cranberry Township and Pittsburgh's East End don't have enough available homes to keep up with demand, he said. 

“With Google and a lot of those companies coming in, a lot of younger employees are buying up those homes,” Hosack said.

The number of homes sold in June rose 11.2 percent from the same period a year ago and the sum of prices for all sales during the month was up 15.4 percent to $593.6 million.

The area is showing “a little more movement in the higher-end homes that we’ve seen in the recent past,” Hosack said.

The largest jump in June was in the average listing price -- up 25 percent to $241,000. Hosack credits that surge to two main factors:  fewer foreclosure sales, which drive down the average price, and a shortage of available homes, which lets owners ask for more.

Hosack said he expects the stable growth in sales to continue through the summer, especially as lending restrictions ease.

“We’re now seeing a lot of the people who in 2008 and '09 lost their homes in foreclosure," he said. "Now (they are) able to qualify again for a mortgage, and we’re starting to see some movement from the renting crowd back into purchasing.”