How Much Does It Cost to Buy a House in Pennsylvania?

Alex Long

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Alex Long

September 20th, 2022
Updated September 20th, 2022

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Although the cost to buy a house in Pennsylvania tends to be lower than the national average, it can still be quite expensive. In fact, the average home buyer in Pennsylvania spends between $24,707 and $79,072 closing on a $267,594 house — which is the state's median value.

Fortunately, Clever Real Estate can help lighten the burden by putting money back in your pocket right after you close. By working with a Clever-recommended agent, you will get top-notch service and could be eligible for up to 0.5% cash back on your home purchase. That equates to about $1,338 for the average-priced home in Pennsylvania.

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Average cost to buy a house in Pennsylvania

The largest factors in determining the cost to buy a house in Pennsylvania are the sale price and the size of the down payment. That said, the closing costs, inspection and appraisal fees, and financing costs can add up as well.

Below is a summary of the major expenses you should plan for when preparing to buy your next home.

Expense
Description
Amount
Earnest money deposit
Good faith money that acts like a security deposit
$2,676 to $8,028
Down payment (3.5-20%)
Initial cash investment in the house that determines your equity
$9,366 to $53,519
Reserves
Lenders often require enough cash in the bank to pay your bills for 2–3 months when buying a home
$2,439 to $3,659
Closing costs
Additional expenses that must be paid to close on a house
$8,520
Inspection
A certified inspector checks the property for any issues that need to be fixed
$228
Appraisal
A qualified appraiser analyzes the property and the local market to determine its fair market value
$228
Moving
Although it usually happens after closing, you need to account for the cost to move
$1,250 to $4,890
Furnishing
Many homebuyers like to fill their new home with new furniture and appliances
Varies
Total
$24,707 to $79,072

Remember that the earnest money deposit is not an expense itself, but a show of good faith and some added security for the seller. The amount you offer for this is up to you, but larger amounts tend to make the seller more comfortable. Assuming you successfully close on the property, the entire earnest money deposit will be applied to the other expenses.

Specific Pennsylvania closing costs

Besides the down payment, closing costs tend to be the next largest portion of the up-front costs to buy a house. These include the various expenses required to complete the transaction and are paid on the closing day.

The average closing costs in Pennsylvania for buyers are about $8,520, but these vary depending on the sale price, your lender's fees, and negotiations with the seller.

The table below shows an overview of common closing costs for buyers:

Closing cost
What is it?
Amount
Closing fee
Paid to the escrow company or agent for conducting the closing process.
$268
Recording fee
Paid to local government to update land ownership records
$298
Title service fees
Looks for claims on the property to ensure title is clear
$275
Origination fee
Fee paid to the lender for the work involved in underwriting and processing your loan.
$1,338
Underwriting fee
Lenders charge a fee for verifying your loan paperwork
$600
Discount points
Money paid to your lender to bring down your loan's interest rate. One point equals 1% of the loan amount.
$2,141 per point
Lender's title insurance
Protects lenders from future claims on the title of the home.
$260
Owner's title insurance
Protects buyers from future claims on the title of the home.
$2,002
Prorated property tax
Buyers must pay the property taxes for the home, prorated for the remainder of the year
Varies
Transfer tax
Pennsylvania has a transfer tax of 0.50% and the cost is typically split between the buyer and seller.
$1,338
Total
$8,520 + taxes

Average cost to buy a house in major Pennsylvania cities

With most expenses involved in buying a house, the price and location are major factors in determining how much you'll spend. Where a house is located has significant influence on its value, and different areas have varying fees for buying and selling real estate.

Below is a table showing some of the more popular places to buy houses in Pennsylvania, along with the average cost to buy a house in each city.

City
Average home value
Average cost to buy
Allentown
$305,211
$25,656 and $87,134
Erie
$182,362
$17,302 and $55,500
Harrisburg
$259,023
$22,515 and $75,241
Philadelphia
$338,343
$27,909 and $95,666
Pittsburgh
$211,063
$19,254 and $62,891
Note: The low end of the cost to buy estimate range assumes a down payment of 3.5% and 20% for the high end.

Working with an expert agent in your area is one of the best ways to ensure you get the best deal possible and avoid unnecessary fees.

Contact us at Clever for top agent recommendations.

How much do I need to buy a house in Pennsylvania?

For many buyers, saving for a house can be intimidating. But there are a number of ways to make the amount you need to save more manageable — like making a lower down payment.

The table below shows how much you'd need for various size down payments at common price points in Pennsylvania, since that is usually the largest expense you need to pay up front.

Home price
With 3.5% down payment
With 10% down payment
With 20% down payment
$100,000
$3,500
$10,000
$20,000
$250,000
$8,750
$25,000
$50,000
$500,000
$17,500
$50,000
$100,000
$750,000
$26,250
$75,000
$150,000

You will also need to account for closing costs, inspections, and appraisals, but remember that some of these expenses are negotiable — you may be able to convince the seller to cover some of these expenses if there isn't too much demand for the house.

Cost to buy a house in Pennsylvania calculator

For a more specific estimate of how much money you'll need for a certain house with a specific down payment, use our home buyer calculator below.

Ongoing costs of homeownership in Pennsylvania

Many home buyers spend a lot of time worry about the cost to buy a house, but not enough time thinking about the cost of owning it.

Ongoing homeownership costs can add up once you account for the mortgage payment, taxes, insurance, maintenance, and occasional improvements. You should factor all these costs in when deciding which home you want to purchase.

» MORE: The true cost of home ownership

To help with the decision, we've compiled a list of the average monthly expenses for homeowners in Pennsylvania.

Expense
Average monthly cost
Mortgage (principle and interest)
$1,220
Homeowners insurance
$75
Taxes
Varies by county, but averages $347 statewide
Maintenance
$222
Utilities
$394
Total
$2,258
Note: All numbers are estimates based on state averages and a median home value of $267,594 and assume a down payment of 20%

Another expense to consider is private mortgage insurance — or PMI. This is a monthly fee lenders charge if you make less than a 20% down payment on your house. The rationale is lenders are taking on additional risk of losing money if a borrower defaults and doesn't have enough equity to recoup their investment when the lender repossesses and sells the house. Once you reach the required level of equity, PMI should be removed from your monthly bills.

Another possible expense is homeowner's association (HOA) fees. These don't apply to every home, but the national average is about $250 per month, so it can be a meaningful expense if this applies to your home.

Top ways to save money when buying a house in Pennsylvania

Buying a home can be expensive, but there are a variety of ways to save money in the process. Implementing some or all of these will lessen the financial burden and possibly be the difference between you being able to afford your dream home or not.

Look into better financing options

One of the most important aspects of buying a home is the financing you use for the purchase. Getting a bad rate or being blindsided by excessive fees at closing are a surefire way to make it a bad experience.

Shopping around for the best lender who offers competitive rates and low fees is a great first step in saving money when buying a home. You can also increase your odds of getting a competitive rate by paying off debts and maximizing your credit score before applying for a loan.

Get Pre-approved Today!

Get matched with a lender who can tell you how much house you can afford. To get started, where do you plan on buying?

If the up-front cost is your primary concern, you could look into no closing cost loans, but you should proceed with caution. These loans lump the closing costs in with the loan itself, so you pay for them over time, but this usually comes with a higher interest rate. This means you'll pay more over the life of the loan.

» MORE: Other considerations for saving money when buying a home

Participate in home buyer programs Pennsylvania

There are a number of programs in Pennsylvania designed to make entry to homeownership easier for potential buyers (e.g., PHFA grant, K-FIT loan program) . Some of these programs offer down payment assistance or better financing options. Others aim to support specific demographics like public service workers, veterans, low-income households, or the disabled community.

» MORE: A guide to first-time home buyer programs everyone should know about

Partner with an expert agent offering cash back

Some real estate companies, like Clever, offer home buyers a percentage of their home's price back after the sale finalizes.

That means if you work with a Clever agent, you'll not only get the expertise that helps you get the best deal possible — you could also get up to 0.5% of your home price back after closing!

Get rewarded for buying a home with Clever Cash Back

Working with Clever connects you with top agents in your area, but you also may qualify for 0.5% back on your purchase. For a $350,000 home, you could get up to $1,750.

You could use this money for home repairs, new furniture, or even a vacation!

Fill out the form below and get started now.

FAQs

The average home buyer in Pennsylvania spends between $9,366 and $53,519 on a down payment for the average home, but this varies considerably depending on the down payment percentage. FHA loans allow for as little as 3.5% down, whereas conventional loans require 20% down to avoid being charged private mortgage insurance (PMI) monthly until adequate equity is reached in the home. Also, the purchase price has a very large impact on this amount.

Generally, buyers and sellers both pay closing costs during a real estate transaction. Sellers pay for agent commissions out of the proceeds of the sale, and buyers pay for fees like loan origination, appraisal, and inspection. That said, some closing costs are negotiable and in a softer market it is not uncommon for sellers to offer some assistance with paying closing costs to sweeten the deal.

Better real estate agents at a better rate

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If you don't love your Clever partner agent, you can request to meet with another, or shake hands and go a different direction. We offer this because we're confident you're going to love working with a Clever Partner Agent.