News outlets have been exclaiming the fact that Pennsylvania's unemployment has hit a record low. Residences are cheering about the economy throughout the state, but the growth wasn't a surprise.
According to data from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry, the unemployment rate was 3.8% in March of 2019. The economy has been expanding every year since 2015 when the unemployment was consistently higher than the national average.
The great economic picture is translating into a hot real estate market in many parts of the state. New workers are entering every day raising home values, and not just in urban centers like Philadelphia, but in rural areas as well. Take Beaver county. Its unemployment rate hovered at 6% in 2015. It's now at 3.7%.
The demand for workers also means a demand for homes. That's pushing prices up in many areas. The good news for home buyers is that the state is still relatively affordable when it comes to buying a home.
Data from Zillow show the median home value in the state is $173,200. The median price of sold homes is just under $160,000. That means there are many areas of the state that are well within the price range of first-time and low-income home buyers.
There are also good investment opportunities across the state as the economy continues to boom and home prices keep rising.
You should always speak with a professional real estate agent for the best advice on where to buy and how to time your purchase. But as you begin your search, let's look at the five best neighborhoods in Pennsylvania if you're thinking of entering the market.
Highland Park in Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh is a city with lots of history and character because of neighborhoods like Highland Park. It has an eclectic range of homes including Tudors, Craftsman styles, and old Victorians. The neighborhood is also dotted with playgrounds, walking trails, and tennis courts. There's even a cycling track.
Highland Park is also home to the Pittsburgh Zoo making it an ideal neighborhood for families. It is also designated an official historic site because its roots date back to the 1700s.
Highland Park is taking advantage of the overall hot real estate market in Pittsburgh. The median home value in the city is $173,200 and climbing, but homes in Highland Park are higher. You can find homes listed in the $250,000 range but a good three-bedroom will likely cost you more than $300,000 in this community.
Bella Vista in Philadelphia
This is Philly's Little Italy and it means “beautiful view.” This vibrant neighborhood hasn't lost its family feeling. There's still an open-air market on 9th Street and the community is welcoming immigrants from around the world. Vietnamese, Mexican, and Latino entrepreneurs have joined thousands of others who continue to shape this neighborhood.
This diversity means a lot of dining choices. There are, of course, any number of Italian restaurants to choose from. And you can't go wrong getting a Philly Cheesesteak around here. But you'll also find a variety of international dining spots and bars.
This is family-oriented neighborhood but there's always a buzz. The South 9th Street Italian Market Festival is two-days of food, drink, and live music. The neighborhood also has a night market for people who like to shop late.
The median home value in Philadelphia is extremely affordable but it's going up quickly. It's slightly more than $156,000 but rose by nearly 7% last year from 2018. This may be the year for investors and new home buyers to enter the market.
This small suburb of Pittsburgh is perfect for commuters who want to live in a quiet community but still be close to an urban center.
Most residents own their own homes in this neighborhood which is filled with families and retirees. Many of Pittsburgh's young professionals also choose to call Oakmont home.
There are many affordable homes in this community but it is also quite affluent. This is, after all, the home of the Oakmont Country Club, which is one of the most prestigious golf courses in the world. It has played host to the U.S. open on several occasions in the past.
Oakmont is a very pedestrian-friendly neighborhood. There are wide brick streets and not much traffic most times of the day. It's also a health-conscious city with local businesses and organizations encouraging residents to get and stay in shape.
The median home value in Oakmont is $196,000, making it an affordable choice for first-time home buyers. But it may be wise to get into the market sooner rather than later. It's expected to climb by 4% this year.
New Hope is not just a major tourist draw, it's also one of the best places to live in Pennsylvania. It has a unique lifestyle drawing creative entrepreneurs and residents. This is where you'll find some of the best antique shopping and art galleries in the area.
Forbes Magazine even did a feature on this beautiful spot of Pennsylvania and its many attractions, including its vintage stores and ice cream shops. This town really is straight out of a Rockwell painting.
New Hope is also one of the more expensive towns in the state. The median home value is $536,000 and climbing. A three-bedroom home on a two-acre lot can cost about $400,000 and there are homes topping the $1 million dollar mark.
There's a reason this place has been dubbed “the sweetest place on earth.” It's home to, you guessed it, Hershey's Chocolate. But there's more to this town than just chocolate (although that's a great start).
It's a thriving resort town with about 20,000 residents. It has one of the top theme parks in the country, there are museums throughout the city, and residents enjoy a leisurely lifestyle.
It also has one of the best public school systems in the state, so it's the perfect place for a family to find their ideal home. The median home value in Hershey is $235,200, making it a relatively affordable community for moderate-income home buyers.
Work with a Professional Realtor
Pennsylvania's real estate market is a great opportunity for investors and buyers looking for a new home. If you're thinking of buying, it's always best to use a local real estate agent; they know all the communities inside and out.
Working with a realtor can save you thousands of dollars and get you into your ideal home. Clever can connect you with a professional real estate agent near you. They offer invaluable guidance and support. Clever Partner Agents have complete access to MLS listings so that you can be sure that you see a number of homes in your price range.
Clever partners with top real estate agents from major companies like Keller Williams, Century 21, and RE/MAX. They are all full-service and they can help you find additional cost-saving opportunities. Most importantly, they are experts in their field and can help relieve the stress that too frequently comes along with buying a home.