Pittsburgh Foreclosures Rose, But Did not Push Down Prices

by Simon Lindsay on cities

Pittsburgh foreclosures climbed up in November 2009 in the region, but they did not push down home prices because their number is relatively low compared to foreclosures in other regions or cities.

Pittsburgh was even one of only five cities considered by Moody’s Economy.com as the best cities to own a house in 2010 because of their projected increases in home prices. Economy.com predicted that home values in Pittsburgh will increase by 0.89 percent in 2010 while average house prices will fall by 7.9 percent nationwide.

In the five counties that comprise the Pittsburgh region, 226 foreclosures were posted in November 2009, an increase from 157 posted in November 2008, based on figures from Pittsburgh-based research company RealSTATS.

Meanwhile, total home sales soared by nearly 40 percent to 2,526 units in November 2009 compared to sales in November 2008. A total of 1,550 homes were sold in Allegheny County, a jump of 41 percent from 1,100 units sold in November 2008. Butler County had the biggest home sales, posting more than 52 percent in increase in sales. The median sales price in the region remained at $115,000.

RealSTATS also reported that while the pace of Pittsburgh foreclosures slowed in lower-income communities in 2009, foreclosure activity stepped up in middle-class areas and in affluent neighborhoods where pre foreclosures were unheard of in the earlier part of 2009.

Upper-class communities in Butler County such as Slippery Rock and Adams Township, where the 2009 median home price was above $124,000, experienced sharp increases in foreclosures. The Westmoreland community of New Stanton, where the home price median was $167,500, hit a 5-year high in foreclosure filings.

The Allegheny community of Fox Chapel, where the 2009 home price median was highest at $500,000, was among the seven communities in the county that posted the highest foreclosure figures.

Dan Murrer of RealSTATS said that the increase in number of repo houses for sale in upscale neighborhoods were largely due to corporate layoffs that left a lot of top executives suddenly without jobs.

Nevertheless, real estate professionals in Pittsburgh, including Paul Culley of the Realtors Association of Metropolitan Pittsburgh, stated that Pittsburgh is not suffering from foreclosures as much as other metro areas because lending and borrowing activities during the boom were generally conservative.

In addition, the city of Pittsburgh has implemented a foreclosure prevention program seen as a model for other cities because of its effectiveness.