Lately, half the people who enlist Joe Yost to help them find a home are from out of town. They’re buying in Pittsburgh, sometimes sight unseen.
“It’s really intriguing to see Pittsburgh evolving right before our eyes,” says Yost, a Berkshire Hathaway agent who closed deals worth a combined $16.5 million in 2017. “We’ve hit the map throughout the country as one of ‘the places to be.’ Today I fielded three calls from people from out of state, and I’m going to meet a guy who flew in from Portland yesterday.”
With eager buyers and low inventory, real estate here is selling quickly, agents say — especially if priced correctly. Homes ranging from $150,000 to $250,000 are especially in demand, and many are selling over the list price.
“If you’re a seller, listen to your agent,” agrees Cindy Russell, a RE/MAX agent who also works with clients who are moving to Pittsburgh for hospital, university or tech jobs. “A lot of sellers want to overprice their homes, thinking, ‘I can always come down,’ but when you list it correctly, or even a little below market, you tend to get a bidding war. People scramble because they know the price is right.”
Here’s a sampling of recent listings for around $250,000:
Neighborhood: 108 E. Jefferson St., Central North Side
Asking price: $239,000
Style: Row house
Description: Built in 1930, this three-bedroom, one-bath home in the Mexican War Streets has what Yost, the listing agent, calls Pittsburgh charm: a restoration with Old World character. The pine plank flooring runs throughout; the mantels are original. Windows, roof and heating system are newer. The fenced back patio adds outdoor space. This two-story home has a basement and on-street parking. “It’s a great place in a trendy part of town,” says Yost.
Neighborhood: 28 Monitor Ave., Ben Avon
Asking price: $240,000
Description: On this street in the sought-after Avonworth School District, investors converted duplexes and multi-units back to single-family homes, says listing agent Allison Gannon with Howard Hanna. “It’s really coming into its own renaissance because there’s no place to build.” Architectural details make this four-bedroom, two-bath home on a corner lot special. Built in 1925, it has new kitchen cabinetry and tiled baths. Other features: hardwood flooring, chandeliers, exposed brick and a built-in wine bar.
Neighborhood: 1015 Cochran Rd., Mt. Lebanon
Asking price: $259,900
Description: Built in 1920, this home listed by Russell recently drew a contingency sale. It has five bedrooms and two baths, a two-car detached garage and level backyard. The living room has built-in shelves, crown molding and hardwood floors that continue into the dining room with pocket doors and a built-in corner china closet. The owners renovated the kitchen and breakfast room and installed new windows throughout the first floor. A den on the first floor could be an office or fifth bedroom.
Neighborhood: 3128 Mary St., South Side
Asking price: $250,000
Description: This renovated home, built in 1890, has amazing views and an open floor plan with cathedral ceilings. One selling point noted by Howard Hanna agent Andrea Ehrenreich is the chef’s kitchen with a 10-foot granite island, maple countertops and a wet bar. Two sets of French doors open to an oversized, two-tiered deck. The house has large closets, updated baths and a laundry room. A separate entrance to the first-floor bedroom and bath make it ideal for roommates, renters or guests.
Neighborhood: 2250 Mary St., Apt. 115, South Side
Asking price: $249,000
Description: Looking for a condo? The South Side Lofts is an industrial building (former brewery) built in 1950 and converted to open-space lofts with exposed brick walls and 18-foot ceilings. This one-bedroom, two-bath unit listed by Lynne Bingham of Howard Hanna has an in-unit laundry room next to the granite kitchen with stainless steel appliances and a breakfast bar. The upper-level bedroom has a custom closet and full bath. The home comes with one interior parking space.