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Old 07-11-2014, 01:40 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
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And I would think $200k is reasonable. Many if not most houses here at least $200k and I don't even live in a big metro. It sounds like a previous depressed real estate market found demand and is more normal. In some cases, really low housing prices are below the price of the materials the house is made of. It also discourages improvements, because improvements will less likely reflect in the value.
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Old 07-11-2014, 01:57 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
12,439 posts, read 11,941,006 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buckeye Burgher View Post
Now just think about that for a minute. For what intrinsic reason should your rowhouse possibly appreciate nearly 400% in seven years? Granted you've put a lot of work into it and surely have reaped a lot of sweat equity. And if it is in certain neighborhoods that used to be sketchy but are quickly gentrifying (Lawrenceville, East Liberty) that has an effect too.

But unless you built a deck out of 24 karat gold or something this is really hard to defend. What I have noticed as a long-time Pittsburgher is a lot of people moving in here from D.C., Boston, the West Coast, etc. who have more money than brains. A house near my parents that no local would ever have offered more than around $80K for recently went to a couple from California for over $200 grand. They would have paid even more where they came from so they think they are getting a good deal.

And realtors are taking full advantage of it.

Granted it does have the positive effect of encouraging people to move into long-declining neighborhoods to buy fixer-uppers and invest in turning these places around.
We've probably put roughly $60,000 into the house over the years, including new floors, a new kitchen, bathroom, and refinishing the attic to habitable space. Houses of my size which haven't had anything done tend to sell for more like $100,000-$150,000 in the neighborhood now, so it's more like a mere doubling to tripling in value over seven years.

You can see the neighborhood I live in if you look at my location. It has indeed blown up over the past seven years. I had no idea it would gentrify like this when I moved here. I just liked being able to buy a dirt cheap brick rowhouse from the 1890s in a neighborhood with a few interesting bars. Reminded me of living in DC again, but much more affordably.

Regardless, you're correct that virtually all of the "new" denizens of the neighborhood (at least the homeowners) are moving here from other parts of the country where the real estate prices are higher. Honestly as someone from the East Coast originally, I don't find the new prices shocking. But my wife is Pittsburgh born and raised and used to low housing prices. It's all I can do to convince her that it's not crazy for a family of four making $90,000+ to pay $900 per month on a mortgage.
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Old 07-11-2014, 01:59 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

Over $104,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum and additional contests are planned
 
Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
Honestly as someone from the East Coast originally, I don't find the new prices shocking. But my wife is Pittsburgh born and raised and used to low housing prices. It's all I can do to convince her that it's not crazy for a family of four making $90,000+ to pay $900 per month on a mortgage.
I've lurked in the Pittsburgh forum a few times and read some of their complaints about expensive housing. It seemed rather absurd to me.
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Old 07-11-2014, 03:28 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
I've lurked in the Pittsburgh forum a few times and read some of their complaints about expensive housing. It seemed rather absurd to me.
You could by a nice house in Pittsburgh for the cost of a studio condo in my neighborhood LOL!

*Studios are about $230k-250k in my neighborhood, with few updates and building amenities. Think a lobby, a parking space, and shared laundry room in an up-to-date 1970s or 80s kitchen/bathroom.
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Old 07-11-2014, 06:40 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
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Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
You could by a nice house in Pittsburgh for the cost of a studio condo in my neighborhood LOL!

*Studios are about $230k-250k in my neighborhood, with few updates and building amenities. Think a lobby, a parking space, and shared laundry room in an up-to-date 1970s or 80s kitchen/bathroom.
Here's some examples of what $200,000-$300,000 will buy you in some of the outer Pittsburgh neighborhoods and inner suburbs. Tilted towards my own interests in housing, but still...

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You can get even better deals than these on intact houses sometimes still too. For example, this, this, this, or this.

EDIT: I should note that none of these houses are in ghettos, or even marginal neighborhoods. A few are in areas with bad school districts, but most just have mediocre school districts.

So yeah, I have a hard time thinking of the area as having a housing crisis. It's just become very expensive to buy in a walkable neighborhood now.

Last edited by eschaton; 07-11-2014 at 07:01 PM..
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Old 07-11-2014, 06:44 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 24 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,016 posts, read 102,649,686 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
I've lurked in the Pittsburgh forum a few times and read some of their complaints about expensive housing. It seemed rather absurd to me.
Agreed.
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Old 07-11-2014, 09:07 PM
 
Location: Youngstown, Oh.
4,896 posts, read 7,662,803 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
Here's some examples of what $200,000-$300,000 will buy you in some of the outer Pittsburgh neighborhoods and inner suburbs. Tilted towards my own interests in housing, but still...

1
2
3
4
5
6

You can get even better deals than these on intact houses sometimes still too. For example, this, this, this, or this.

EDIT: I should note that none of these houses are in ghettos, or even marginal neighborhoods. A few are in areas with bad school districts, but most just have mediocre school districts.

So yeah, I have a hard time thinking of the area as having a housing crisis. It's just become very expensive to buy in a walkable neighborhood now.
I think my favorite is the last listing, 916 California Ave. I hope whoever buys it doesn't rip out the kitchen and baths.
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Old 07-11-2014, 09:37 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 24 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,016 posts, read 102,649,686 times
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One of those houses is in Mt. Lebanon, which is supposedly one of the best school districts in Pittsburgh if not the state.

The definition of "very expensive" in Pittsburgh is strange indeed.
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Old 07-11-2014, 09:46 PM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
27,171 posts, read 29,692,971 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
So yeah, I have a hard time thinking of the area as having a housing crisis. It's just become very expensive to buy in a walkable neighborhood now.
Walkable is very pricy around here. I live in a walkable area. A similar home in my neighborhood would be like $1.3M. I can't think of many homes that size nearby. There are a couple on my street. I have not seen them go on sale in 10 years! More typical are 1500 sqft 3 bedroom homes for about $700-$800k
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Old 07-12-2014, 11:51 AM
 
Location: Crooklyn, New York
28,266 posts, read 26,263,727 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
As to Pittsburgh, I can say while it's affordable by national standards, by local standards there has been a huge increase in prices in the walkable urban core.

Seven years ago, I bought a modest, 1260 square foot rowhouse for $53,000. We've put a lot of work into it, and can sell it for upwards of $200,000 now. This is a great thing, since now that we have two kids our house is getting way too small (especially having only one bathroom). We also don't have to worry about local schools now, so theoretically we can move anywhere in the city.

But the housing search has not gone well. It's pretty much impossible to buy a larger size rowhouse (e.g., 3-4 bedrooms, 1.5-2 baths) in Pittsburgh for under $300,000. By national standards this would be considered affordable, but by Pittsburgh standards it isn't really, and it would result in essentially a doubling of our current mortgage (which is around $525 per month). So even though our preferences are for an attached rowhouse with no front yard near a major business district, we're finding we'd need to make too many sacrifices ( too small, needs a lot of work, bad street parking situation) to only marginally trade up in space. Whereas if we look at one of the less walkable neighborhoods in the city, and a detached early 20th century home, we can just get a lot more house for the money.
I hate you!
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