The House Hunt


housing city prices

Last week, the PG reported that although real estate prices are on the rise and wage growth is weak, Pittsburgh is the fifth most affordable U.S. metro area for housing following Atlanta, Minneapolis, St. Louis and Detroit.

69.8% of residents in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area are homeowners as opposed to the national homeownership rate of 65.3%. The least affordable metro area is San Francisco where 55.1% of its residents are homeowners.

Home sales in the Pittsburgh region were up 10.6 percent this year through September. A total of 21,547 homes changed hands during that time frame compared to 19,475 homes sold during the first nine months of 2012.

Statistics don’t mean much when people like my daughter are actually trying to find something to buy. We combed every area of the city and found workable starter houses few and far between. The condition of most of these houses was appalling, requiring thousands of dollars to get them livable and up to code. When we did find a real workable possibility, it became the immediate subject of a bidding frenzy taking a toll on the nerves as well as the pocket book.

One way to find something affordable is to look at foreclosures. About 5 million homes have gone through foreclosure in the half-decade since the housing collapse. That era has ended with only 2.39% of our homes, the lowest since 2007, in foreclosure. We did try for one owned by Fannie May in Morningside but were immediately taken out by multiple higher-than-asking-price bidders with deeper renovation pockets.

I could go on and on about the poor condition of the housing in our affordable city but since Sarah did find a workable alternative to her liking, I’ll be happier spending my energy with multiple visits to IKEA and Home Depot.

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