PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — When new businesses come to this region like the Shell cracker plant or existing companies expand like Google in Bakery Square, you know there’s a need for more housing.
“Lots of new young people — lots of them love the Strip District, the city, downtown. We’re seeing them suburban as well,” says Vera Purcell, a realtor.
Purcell was Howard Hanna’s top listing agent last year, and she says the word is out about Pittsburgh.
“I think we are seeing a lot of young families moving in, and, of course, these kids today make great pay checks.”
Good paying jobs not only encourage families to move here, but they also can bid up the cost of housing.
Take one popular community for those with kids — Mt. Lebanon.
“Before the crash, Mt. Lebanon’s average sale price was $174,900. We’re now over $300,000,” says Purcell.
And whether you locate in the city’s new hot spots like the Strip or Lawrenceville or in the region’s many suburban neighborhoods, finding affordable homes can be a challenge.
With more and more young people, especially families, coming to the Pittsburgh area now and in the future, Realtors tell me they’re looking for housing below $400,000 in price. and there’s a real shortage of that housing for sale right now in Pittsburgh.
And here’s another problem.
As the low-income residents of Penn Plaza in East Liberty discovered this winter, they were dispossessed so the new owner could upgrade and attract high-end renters paying three times the current rent.
“They come from out of state, from surrounding areas. Suburbanites,” says Gail Williams of the Penn Plaza Tenants Council.
Mayor Peduto cut a deal with the owner to find new housing for the displaced residents — but it’s a situation that is likely to get worse as once ignored neighborhoods get discovered and yuppi-fied.
“Ten years ago who would have thought the Strip District would be a hot housing market,” notes Purcell.