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Pittsburgh Perspectives  

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Monday, April 08, 2019  11:05 AM  (19)

Homeownership in Pittsburgh

Earlier in April, the Census Bureau released 2018 Annual Statistics from its Housing Vacancies and Homeownership (CPS/HVS) program. This data provides current information on the rental and homeowner vacancy rates, and characteristics of units available for occupancy for the United States, regions, states and the nation’s largest metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs). 

The homeownership rate represents the proportion of all households that are owners of their current place of residence and has long been considered an important economic indicator for both national and regional economies. Significant research and debate have focused on the recent decline in the national homeownership rate, which contracted between 2005 and 2016 before seeing a recent uptick. Recent trends in homeownership have been impacted by the most recent national recession between December 2007 and June 2009, and will be impacted in the future by any shifts in the pattern of homeownership among the millennial generation as they begin to enter their peak earnings years.

Over recent decades, Pittsburgh has maintained a relatively high homeownership rate. For 2018, the Pittsburgh region’s 71.7% homeownership rate was higher than the comparable national homeownership rate of 64.4%. 



Homeownership rates for Pittsburgh and the United States have been gradually diverging over the most recent decade. As a result, Pittsburgh's homeownership rate has been the highest among the 40 largest MSAs in the nation since 2016.  In 2018, Pittsburgh's 71.7% homeownership rate edges higher than Detroit (70.9%) and is significantly higher than comparable rates for the Los Angeles (49.5%), New York (49.7%) and San Jose (50.4%) metropolitan areas, which are the lowest homeownership rates among the nation's largest MSAs. Among the 75 largest MSAs, only Allentown, Pennsylvania (72.1%), Grand Rapids, Michigan (73.0%) and Cape Coral, Florida (75.1%) MSAs have higher homeownership rates than Pittsburgh.




These statistics are generated from the Current Population Survey Housing Vacancy Survey (CPS/HVS). Estimates of homeownership and other statistics produced by this program are used extensively by public and private sector organizations to evaluate the need for new housing programs and initiatives. In addition, the rental vacancy rate is a component of the index of leading economic indicators and is thereby used by the Federal Government and economic forecasters to gauge the current economic climate.


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