Pennsylvania housing market: Everything you need to know
The Bankrate promise
At Bankrate we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation for .
The Keystone State is a diverse place that’s nearly two-thirds forested lands, while also being home to major cities like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Pennsylvania is also home to substantial industrial production. The state’s growth rate has fluctuated slightly over the past decade but remained relatively steady at around 13 million residents, making it the fifth most populous state in the country. Whether you’re currently a resident or are considering relocating there, here’s a breakdown of today’s Pennsylvania housing market.
Pennsylvania housing market overview
The housing market in Pennsylvania is going through a period of transition, as is the case across much of the country. Prices are trending upward — rising 7.1 percent from February 2022 to February 2023, according to data from the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors (PAR) — but remain extremely affordable overall, with a statewide median price well below the national median. However, homes are spending a fairly long time on the market amid the current steep mortgage rate environment, and far fewer properties are selling compared to last year.
Pennsylvania housing trends and stats
- The median price for a Pennsylvania home as of February 2023 was $244,500, according to Redfin data. That’s more than $100K less than the National Association of Realtors’ nationwide median of $363,000.
- The number of homes sold fell more than 20 percent compared to February of last year.
- Homes spent an average of 46 days on the market in February, which is 1 day longer than last year.
- During the same timeframe, the sale-to-list ratio for the state was 97.7 percent — meaning homes typically sold for 2.3 percent less than their full list price.
- More than 20 percent of homes underwent a price drop before selling.
- According to data from ClosingCorp, closing costs in Pennsylvania average about 4.3 percent of a home’s list price, one of the highest rates in the country.
Should you buy or sell in the Pennsylvania housing market?
For both homebuyers and sellers, deciding whether it’s the right time to take the plunge often comes down to personal circumstances. It’s also important, however, to take current market dynamics into consideration when contemplating such a significant step. And don’t forget to consider the cost of living in your desired market — both home values and the price tag of everyday essentials will look different in Philadelphia, say, than in Harrisburg or Scranton.
If you’re a home seller
If you’re thinking about selling your house in Pennsylvania, things are a bit of a mixed bag right now. While home prices were up in February, they’ve been fluctuating up and down over the past few months, according to PAR. As recently as December 2022, prices plunged 11 percent from just one month earlier. Come January, prices were up again. This type of roller-coaster ride may be less than comforting for a home seller. At the same time, the number of homes sold has been on a steady downward trajectory since August 2022, per Redfin.
If you’re a homebuyer
If you’re a prospective Pennsylvania homebuyer, high mortgage rates are making purchases less affordable. In addition, the number of homes available for sale in the state is down 3 percent year-over-year, per Redfin. However, the good news is that the number of homes with price drops is on the rise — 20.7 percent of homes sold in February dropped their prices before closing the deal, which is a 7.5 percent year-over-year increase. So buyers have a bit more negotiating power than they did this time last year.
Before embarking on a home search, take the time to get preapproved for a mortgage. This important step will give you an understanding of how much house you can afford and how much financing you’re likely to be eligible for.
Pennsylvania housing market predictions
With the volume of home sales and new listings both on the downswing, the housing market in Pennsylvania is certainly cooling from the red-hot frenzy of the past few years. But that’s the case just about everywhere in the country, and experts do not anticipate a housing market crash. While prices may fall in the year ahead, conditions are not predicted to reach anything near the Great Recession of 2008. And with its relatively affordable median home sale price of $244,500, Pennsylvania is well positioned to attract prospective buyers from other, more expensive states.
Find a Pennsylvania real estate agent
With so much in flux right now, working with an experienced real estate agent is a wise choice. An agent who understands your local market dynamics can help you price your home effectively if you’re selling, and negotiate the best deal possible if you’re buying. If you’re searching for an agent, consider asking friends, family and other connections for a referral if they’ve had a good experience with a Realtor. It’s also a good idea to research an agent’s online presence and read reviews of past clients, and interview several candidates before choosing the best fit for you.
No, prices are not dropping. In fact, prices are on the rise, though not significantly, according to two different sets of data: Per Redfin, the state’s median sale price increased 0.8 percent from February of last year to February 2023. And per the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors, the price increased 7.1 percent in the same timeframe. However, the state’s median price is still quite a bit below the overall national median.
The best place to buy a home is often influenced by personal factors, including your work and family needs and your short- and long-term goals. However, with its bustling major cities, employment opportunities and affordable home prices — the median price tag here is $244,500, which is more than $100K cheaper than the national median — Pennsylvania remains a good place to buy a home.