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Plum high on list of affordable communities

| Wednesday, April 30, 2014, 9:01 p.m.

Plum has received more national recognition.

Plum and Monroeville ranked among the top 15 most affordable places to live in Pennsylvania, according to a ranking system published this month by Movoto.com.

Plum ranked fifth in the survey, and Monroeville placed 13th.

The study factored adjusted median income, unemployment rank, utility costs, food costs, median home price and miscellaneous costs such as restaurants and entertainment.

The ranking is the second major designation for Plum in the past couple of years.

Neighborhood Scout, a neighborhood search engine designed for home buyers and movers, designated Plum as one of the 100 safest cities in America in both 2012 and 2013.

“It goes to show what a great asset Plum is in being safe and affordable,” Plum Mayor Richard Hrivnak said. “The community has known it for a long time.”

Monroeville already was touted nationally in August as one of the top 25 most-affordable places to buy a home by CNN Money, a subsidiary of CNN News.

The CNN Money list — which ranked Monroeville 22nd — was based on the ratio of a community's median income to median home price.

Movoto is a real estate website that offers potential homebuyers information about home values, neighborhoods and real estate agents.

The 2013 study examined communities with populations of at least 10,000 residents during the last U.S. Census.

The criteria narrowed the candidates to 68 places, according to the Movoto website.

The median home price in Plum is $110,700, according to information from the Plum School District.

“Plum is affordable with home values,” said borough tax collector Harry Schlegel. “You can get a good home for the money.”

The total value of real estate assessments in Plum increased about 20 percent as a result of the 2012 Allegheny County property reassessments, Schlegel said.

Hrivnak said both the safe and affordable designations should help attract residents and businesses to Plum, where there is no mercantile tax.

“Most people are looking for an affordable and safe community with good schools,” Hrivnak said. “And businesses look for quality of life (features) for employees. It makes a compelling reason for businesses to take a look at Plum. “

Hrivnak looks for the messages to be publicized on the borough's Internet page and on stationery.

“Not many communities can boast what we boast,” Hrivnak said.

To see the entire list, visit www.movoto.com/pa/affordable-pennsylvania.

Karen Zapf and Kyle Lawson are staff writers for Trib Total Media. Karen can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8753, or kzapf@tribweb.com. Kyle can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8755, or klawson@tribweb.com.

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