U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > General U.S. > City vs. City
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
View Poll Results: Where Should I Live?
Pittsburgh 47 50.00%
Northern Virginia (NoVA) 47 50.00%
Voters: 94. You may not vote on this poll

Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 07-09-2009, 07:54 PM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
29,580 posts, read 65,340,720 times
Reputation: 14969

Advertisements

Hello forum!

I'm in a rut tonight. I just sat down last night to map out my revised budget after receiving my first pay check and some more definitized monthly expenditures, and I realized that on a $42,000 salary HALF of my monthly net income is going to rent with a large chunk of my remainder going to bills, leaving me with a small pittance left over for emergencies. I live frugally in a 1-BR apartment in a suburb on steroids. I did a search for housing in Arlington, VA, a city I've grown to admire from afar, and I became very discouraged. The least expensive non run-down single-family-home I could find that I liked was $380,000! As a single male who will probably be earning in the neighborhood of $85,000 by age 30 I'm just depressed because I don't see how I'll ever be able to afford a home here.

I then looked at Pittsburgh and found a huge array of homes in and around the city and its inner suburbs that were listed from $75,000-$100,000 that were PERFECT for me.

My dream home?
  • 2 Bedrooms
  • 1 Bathroom
  • 1,100-1,300 Square Feet
  • 1/10-Acre to 1/4-Acre Lot
  • 60-100+ Years Old
  • Adjacent to a Bus Route

A home like this would fetch $400,000 in Arlington. A home like this would fetch $75,000 in Pittsburgh. I just can't figure out why? Granted I've only lived in Northern Virginia for six weeks, but it just seems to be one giant suburb replete with traffic congestion, residential subdivisions, and chain stores/restaurants. With few exceptions (Leesburg, Fairfax City, Falls Church, Arlington, and Alexandria come to mind) the rest of NoVA is not a nice place to live unless you enjoy hopping in your car and bending over as a glutton for punishment. Unfortunately though even as a college-educated professional I just don't foresee myself ever being able to afford my own place here on one salary. In Pittsburgh I'd be able to buy my own place before I was 24!

I suppose what I'm asking you all is "Is there something I'm missing that justifies the exorbitant cost-of-living in Northern Virginia?" I just don't see what makes this area so "superior" to nearly every other place in the nation. Can someone who is familiar with both Pittsburgh and NoVA please give me their honest opinion as to where I should look to plant down my roots? Why are housing values so depressed in Pittsburgh? The city is replete with history, nostalgia, and charm, the people are down-to-earth, traffic is relatively uncongested, there's jobs available in certain fields, etc., etc. What gives?

Where is this "amazing" quality-of-life in Northern Virginia that I've been missing out on?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 07-09-2009, 07:58 PM
 
5,969 posts, read 7,354,609 times
Reputation: 1614
Pittsburgh for sure. Its a great city and much more affordable.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 07-09-2009, 08:00 PM
 
Location: Chicago
3,340 posts, read 8,477,388 times
Reputation: 1202
*cough!*

............... or Pittsburgh
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 07-09-2009, 08:07 PM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
29,580 posts, read 65,340,720 times
Reputation: 14969
Thanks for the feedback thus far! I'm hoping people from both areas jump in to try to "sell" their respective areas to me. It's entirely possible I'm just "missing" what justifies NoVA having such exorbitant housing prices relative to the quality-of-life. Other than "you're close to DC" I haven't heard any other good reason to want to live where I currently do. To be fair as well DC isn't exactly the most exciting city (I'd much rather pay LESS to live in a more ACTIVE city like Philadelphia). DC has museums, professional sports, parks, etc. So does Pittsburgh. I just don't get what makes Pittsburgh so sucky that you can buy a nice house for $75,000 and what makes NoVA so "amazing" that you can buy a crappy house for $300,000.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 07-09-2009, 08:27 PM
 
4,570 posts, read 6,344,273 times
Reputation: 2517
You can really get a 2 bedroom house in Pittsburgh for only 75K???
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 07-09-2009, 09:16 PM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
29,580 posts, read 65,340,720 times
Reputation: 14969
Quote:
Originally Posted by nature's message View Post
You can really get a 2 bedroom house in Pittsburgh for only 75K???
Here's some of my recent finds from Pittsburgh and its inner suburbs:

Page 2 | Pittsburgh, PA, Real Estate Listings and Pittsburgh Homes for Sale - REALTOR.com®
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 07-09-2009, 09:25 PM
 
4,570 posts, read 6,344,273 times
Reputation: 2517
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScranBarre View Post
Here's some of my recent finds from Pittsburgh and its inner suburbs:

Page 2 | Pittsburgh, PA, Real Estate Listings and Pittsburgh Homes for Sale - REALTOR.com®
Holy cheese & crackers, that's so cheap.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 07-09-2009, 09:51 PM
 
Location: Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
29,580 posts, read 65,340,720 times
Reputation: 14969
Quote:
Originally Posted by nature's message View Post
Holy cheese & crackers, that's so cheap.
Tell me about it. That's because all that people from Pittsburgh do is whine "Pittsburgh sucks" so much that their property values are held down. Those people don't realize that if they were a little less NEGATIVE and a little more SUPPORTIVE towards their city that it could very easily be an amazing place again!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 07-09-2009, 10:12 PM
 
1,263 posts, read 3,435,781 times
Reputation: 610
Pittsburgh is not in a large metro area. While it may have a little bit of everything, nothing is truly over the top. DC has museums. Pittsburgh also has museums. Are they at the same level? I think nobody would say yes. I am sure all people stay in a large metro area for a higher cost for good reasons, but those reasons might not be important to you. People staying in Pittsburgh also have their reasons. Although both the city of Pittsburgh and the metro are losing population, there are still many people there. If you love to visit world-class museums every weekend, then there's no place better than DC. All the museums are top notch and most of them are free. But you may only want to go to the museums once in a lifetime and this is perfectly fine and so it is not important to you. A few other examples. Pittsburgh may have some ethnic food, but does it have a Chinatown, as DC does? Pittsburgh may have plenty of shopping, but does it have large upscale malls like Tyson Corner Center, as NoVA does? Pittsburgh has some light rail lines, but are they as extensive as the DC Metro network? Does Pittsburgh have as many interesting buildings, or upscale neighborhoods? Again, these might not be important to you and that probably means that you are not a big city person. Don't try to say that the DC metro is the same as Pittsburgh metro. They are certainly not, even in terms of sheer market size. Most people can't tell you what you are missing because those things might not be important to you at all. It all comes down to personal preference.

Also please make sure that you can easily get the job with the same salary and long term prospect in Pittsburgh for fair comparison. Many people stay in large metro areas only because they think this is the best for their career.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ScranBarre View Post
Thanks for the feedback thus far! I'm hoping people from both areas jump in to try to "sell" their respective areas to me. It's entirely possible I'm just "missing" what justifies NoVA having such exorbitant housing prices relative to the quality-of-life. Other than "you're close to DC" I haven't heard any other good reason to want to live where I currently do. To be fair as well DC isn't exactly the most exciting city (I'd much rather pay LESS to live in a more ACTIVE city like Philadelphia). DC has museums, professional sports, parks, etc. So does Pittsburgh. I just don't get what makes Pittsburgh so sucky that you can buy a nice house for $75,000 and what makes NoVA so "amazing" that you can buy a crappy house for $300,000.

Last edited by fashionguy; 07-09-2009 at 10:55 PM..
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 07-10-2009, 07:45 AM
 
4,945 posts, read 8,208,237 times
Reputation: 2029
Scran,

Pittsburgh is a great city. But you are comparing it to the nation's capital. There are so many things to do and see in DC on any given day. DC probably holds more events than any other city in the US including NYC. The COLA in NOVA is high because salaries are high. The Feds set the standard and other industries follow. I sometimes laugh at people who only look at DC as museums and monuments. They are great but what about the 101 other things to do Downtown (all within a two mile area). Let me give you a snapshot: Along with the 60 museums, you can go look up your ancestors at the National Archives; Find any past periodical that has ever been written at the Library of Congress; Protest any number of issues from abortions to taxes to immigration on the mall; seek some one on one time with your congressman; sit in on a Supreme Court Ruling; Ride the Congressional Subway from the White House to the Capitol; Play kickball between the Monument and the Capitol; Bike 30 miles along the GW Parkway and the Potomac; Hob nob with lawmakers at hundreds of Galas; Visit hundreds of Embassies; Attend events sponsored by every trade or professional association in the world; Visit secret passages from the Underground railroad....I can name about a thousand things to do but you get the drift.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > U.S. Forums > General U.S. > City vs. City
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2017, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top