Housing prices in the Pittsburgh region are growing more slowly than the national market, a trend that is expected to continue in 2018.
According to Trulia's chief economist Ralph McLaughlin, Pittsburgh-area home prices grew just more than 4 percent in the second half of 2017, which was slower than the national market’s 7 percent growth. McLaughlin said that’s because our local population is stagnant.
“The Pittsburgh metropolitan area last year lost about 5,000 persons, which isn’t a whole lot, but if you want the housing market to grow and to boom you need job growth and you need population growth,” McLaughlin said.
McLaughlin said that Pittsburgh’s growing tech scene is a positive trend for the market, as well as the affordability of starter homes, which have a median price of $60,000 in the area.
“That’s pretty incredible. It provides opportunity for first time homebuyers,” said McLaughlin. "That bodes well for the long-term prospects [of the region].”
A Downturn For Apartments?
Apartment buildings have sprouted up across the East End since 2015, with cranes rising over neighborhoods including East Liberty, Lawrenceville and the Strip District.
“If you came into town in 2013, you probably had four choices for newer buildings,” said Paul Griffith, the senior managing director with Integra Realty Resources, a company that studies real estate valuation. “Now, you have 10 different choices that have been built in the past 18 months.”
Griffith said that developers may have overbuilt, though, as there are only so many renters looking for new construction apartments.
“Right now we’re concerned going into 2018 or 2019, that the number of units under construction are going to outpace the demand and that we’ll see a softening of the market,” he said, which can be seen in rent concessions offered by apartment complexes.