ShareThis Page

Cranberry still a popular destination for those on the move

| Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

When Justin Dorus and his wife Kimberly were looking to move out of Baldwin, they wanted a space large enough to accommodate their growing family, but still close to their families in the Bethel Park and Slippery Rock areas.

“Location for us was pretty critical,” Dorus said.

With a target budget of $250,000 and $300,000, they chose to construct a new home in the Marshall Heights development in Cranberry.

Now Dorus, his wife and their 19-month-old son Jayden have a back yard, a patio and easy access to nearby parks.They also live closer to Kimberly's job teaching in Sewickley while just 20 minutes from where Dorus works in Downtown Pittsburgh.

Dorus and his family are one of many newcomers to Butler County, where housing growth remains steady despite a drop in average purchase price from this time last year.

According to RealSTATs, a South Side firm that tracks real estate transactions, the average home price dropped in October 2013 to a little over $238,000 from $248,000 last year.

Overall home sales went from 219 in October 2012 to 208 last month.

“We're looking for increased sales in the coming year,” said Daryl Mikolay, a Realtor with Coldwell Banker and president of the Butler County Association of Realtors. “We have people moving into the area, and some of the building has started again.”

In the five-county region that also includes Allegheny, Beaver, Washington and Westmoreland counties, Butler County has had the highest median home prices of the last three years. That means that half of all homes in Butler County sold for less, and the other half went for more. October's median was $193,015.

Prices of newly constructed homes reached a three-year high, too, selling for an average of $393,958.

Dorus said when he and his wife looked at existing properties, some were on the market for just about a week when someone else put in an offer.

“It was a market that was particularly hard to compete in and see the houses fast enough,” he said.

Mikolay said Butler County didn't experience as much of a downturn from “the bubble” in the housing market compared to other regions.

Part of the appeal to regional residents, Mikolay said, is lower property taxes than in Allegheny or Beaver counties. New jobs at Westinghouse Electric Co.'s Cranberry world headquarters also are enticing residents to settle close by.

“Interest rates are still at a good rate,” she said. “This is really a good time to buy.”

Ron Henshaw, director of community development in Cranberry, said the area is on pace to see about 100 new single-family home sales this year. If that happens, it'll be the highest since 2005.

The township is also seeing an influx of multiple-story, multi-family residents, meaning a boost in apartments, Henshaw said.

But the township's overall goal is to get a “balance of growth,” or a mix of residential and non-residential properties.

Melissa Daniels is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-8511

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.