Pittsburgh Region Tops In Homeownership, But Vacancies An Issue

Oct 20, 2014

The Pittsburgh region is at the top of a list of similarly-sized metro regions when it comes to home ownership. That’s according to a report from Pittsburgh Today, a nonprofit research organization housed at the University of Pittsburgh.

“Among our 15 benchmark regions, the homeownership rate in Pittsburgh is the highest of all the regions,” said Doug Heuck, director of Pittsburgh Today, “and homeownership is a general sign of stability, investedness in the place that you live.”

In the Pittsburgh region, the homeownership rate is 69.8, higher than other areas including Philadelphia, Cleveland, St. Louis and Baltimore. Heuck said the finding isn’t a big surprise because the Pittsburgh region’s housing stock was not hit as hard as other areas in the recession, and housing prices tend to be lower.

“And people in Pittsburg generally stay put,” he said. “They tend to live here for a long time. They tend to live in the same place for a long time. There’s not as much moving in and out. It’s less transient than other regions.”

But, not all the news is good. According to Heuck, the bad news has to do with vacancy rates or homes that are not occupied.

“Pittsburgh is fourth from the bottom in terms of having the fourth highest vacancy rate between Detroit, Cleveland and Indianapolis, with a little over 10 percent of the dwellings vacant,” said Heuck.

Vacancies in neighborhoods can affect property values, crime rates and other factors. But, Heuck said efforts in the region to cut down on vacant properties are starting to pay off. Overall, Heuck said the Pittsburgh region will likely remain attractive housing-wise, and the market will continue to be stable.