Pittsburgh ranks 40th out of 159 most affordable cities
By Ron Daparma
Published: Sunday, March 12, 2006,
The Pittsburgh housing market was a little less affordable in 2005 than it was in 2004, according to a national survey.
But 40th out of 159 still isn't all that bad.
That was the finding of the year-end National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo Housing Opportunity Index.
It ranked the seven-county Pittsburgh region as the 40th most affordable in the country, based on a median home price of $120,000 and a median annual household income of $54,900. Median means half the home prices or households are above the mean and half are below.
The Pittsburgh region ranked 32nd on the survey in 2004, based on a median home price of $106,000, and a median income of $78,900.
The survey found Indianapolis, Ind., to be the nation's most affordable major housing market at year-end 2005.
But overall nationwide housing affordability slipped to the lowest level in the history of the survey because of higher interest rates and rising home prices.
"The latest HOI shows that only 41 percent of new and existing homes that were sold during the final quarter of 2005 were affordable to families earning the national median income," said David Pressly, president of the national builders' trade group and a home builder from Statesville, N.C. "This is down from 43.2 percent of homes sold in the third quarter and 52 percent of homes sold in the final quarter of 2004."
In Indianapolis, 88.7 percent of new and existing homes that were sold in the fourth quarter were affordable to households earning the area's median income of $64,000, the survey showed. The median sales price of all Indianapolis homes sold in that time frame was $120,000.
In comparison, 69.7 percent of homes sold in Pittsburgh were affordable based on that same criteria, down from 78.9 percent at the end of the year in 2004.
Among affordable major metro markets, areas with over 500,000 in population, were Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, Ohio-Pa., followed by Detroit-Litonia-Dearborn, Mich.; Grand Rapids-Wyoming, Mich.; and Dayton, Ohio, in that order.
At the bottom of the affordability scale was Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale, Calif., where just 2.3 percent of homes sold in the fourth quarter were affordable to families earning the area's median household income of $54,500.
The median price of all homes sold in that area was an even $500,000.
And as usual, the bottom of the affordability scale was dominated by large California cities, including Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine, San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, and Stockton. New York-White Plains-Wayne, N.Y.-N.J. rounded out the list of the five least-affordable major housing markets.
Pressly noted that the housing affordability situation should improve as mortgage rates peak later this year and home price appreciation decelerates from the record rates of the last several years to a more normal pace.
In the Pittsburgh area, appreciation should ease, but there will not be a downturn in prices, predicted Stuart Hoffman, chief economist for PNC Financial Services Group, at program sponsored by the Grubb & Ellis Co., a commercial real estate firm.
Hoffman sees price gains in the 3 percent to 4 percent range, down from about 4 percent or 5 percent over the last several years.
Real estate notes
Real estate gallery
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com 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.
- Pirates notebook: Huntington narrows team’s offseason targets
- Pirates will shop while Burnett makes his decision
- Penguins’ Neal suspended five games for Marchand hit
- Expert: KO doesn’t mean ‘worst’ concussion for Pens’ Orpik
- City calls UPMC’s claim of no employees a ‘charade’
- UPMC doctor killed trying to help at 50-vehicle pileup
- Florida congressman loses $18M in stock scheme
- Steelers WR Brown says ‘I thought I had it clean’ after wild, near-miss finish
- Melvin appeal cites actions of prosecutors, judge
- Kovacevic: Enough of these Steelers already
- NFL notebook: League calls reversal judgment call