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 $24,833 and $79,461 closing on a $268,984 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 cash back on your home purchase.
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.
Earnest money deposit
Good faith money that acts like a security deposit
$2,690 to $8,070
Down payment (3.5-20%)
Initial cash investment in the house that determines your equity
$9,414 to $53,797
Lenders often require enough cash in the bank to pay your bills for 2–3 months when buying a home
$2,452 to $3,678
Additional expenses that must be paid to close on a house
A certified inspector checks the property for any issues that need to be fixed
A qualified appraiser analyzes the property and the local market to determine its fair market value
Although it usually happens after closing, you need to account for the cost to move
$1,250 to $4,890
Many homebuyers like to fill their new home with new furniture and appliances
$24,833 to $79,461
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 $8,570, 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:
What is it?
Paid to the escrow company or agent for conducting the closing process.
Paid to local government to update land ownership records
Title service fees
Looks for claims on the property to ensure title is clear
Fee paid to the lender for the work involved in underwriting and processing your loan.
Lenders charge a fee for verifying your loan paperwork
Money paid to your lender to bring down your loan's interest rate. One point equals 1% of the loan amount.
$2,152 per point
Lender's title insurance
Protects lenders from future claims on the title of the home.
Owner's title insurance
Protects buyers from future claims on the title of the home.
Prorated property tax
Buyers must pay the property taxes for the home, prorated for the remainder of the year
Pennsylvania has a transfer tax of 0.50% and the cost is typically split between the buyer and seller.
$8,570 + 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.
Average home value
Average cost to buy
$25,811 and $87,655
$17,362 and $55,661
$22,692 and $75,842
$27,922 and $95,649
$19,198 and $62,612
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.
With 3.5% down payment
With 10% down payment
With 20% down payment
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.
Average monthly cost
Mortgage (principle and interest)
Varies by county, but averages $349 statewide
Note: All numbers are estimates based on state averages and a median home value of $268,984 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 money back after closing!
The average home buyer in Pennsylvania spends between $9,414 and $53,797 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.