2010 Pennsylvania Housing Market

Allentown SkylineHome sales are returning with a punch in Pennsylvania, despite a slowdown after the federal tax incentive expired. Lower housing prices coupled with record low mortgage rates are driving markets, which are showing signs of entering a recovery.

A large number of retirees moving to Pennsylvania for its lower cost of living and low tax base are aiding the housing market. The state that features The City of Brotherly Love has re-invigorated itself after learning from its history as a former steel belt powerhouse. As sales on homes and condos move upward, the values will follow suit.

With a high concentration of jobs in health care, professional services and corporate headquarters for more than a half a dozen leading companies, Pittsburgh has even seen growing strength in its high-end housing market above $1-million. Overall sales are on track to top out at least 20% above 2009 for the year.

Strong demand for lower priced homes, however, is adding a stabilizing factor to the Pittsburgh market, which is densely populated with an elderly retirement sector. Pennsylvania has the lowest percentage of under water mortgages in the country adding to its fortitude in real estate. Average home prices in Pittsburgh are forecast to appreciate a better but still modest 2.6% for the year.

The fallout from the credit crunch has led to higher unemployment in Philadelphia, The city of Brotherly Love. But an upturn in commercial building projects scheduled for the next year show a market that is beginning to turn the corner in terms of real estate.

Unemployed homeowners are being aided through a federal program in Philly, which has had one of the higher levels of foreclosures in the state. A new round of troubled properties is expected to hit the market over the next several months, weighing on home values.

But the market is projected to withstand the sluggish turn without much damage to the overall real estate economy. The eight counties that make up the Philadelphia metro region are forecast to see average housing appreciation of 2.7% by year’s end.

A larger percentage of foreclosures hurt Allentown’s housing market for a time before the inventory was sold-off. But job losses weigh heavily on the region, where many people have left seeking employment else where. The growth of Allentown rests primarily on its job market, which could be aided by the growing railroad industry. Allentown home prices are forecast to inflate a slight 1.6% in 2010.

Close to the Canadian border in upstate Erie, the cold winds of winter weather will cool the home market after government tax credits did only a little to push sales. The winds of change come slowly in small Erie, where home sales are projected to rise over time and forecast to see average housing prices up 1.8% in 2010.