Washington County Homes Pulled Further out of Reach; Homes Are Becoming Less Affordable in Areas Hit Hardest by Declines in the Natural Gas Industry as Prices Outpace Wage Growth, a New Report Suggests [Derived Headline]

By Fleisher, Chris | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, June 23, 2016 | Go to article overview

Washington County Homes Pulled Further out of Reach; Homes Are Becoming Less Affordable in Areas Hit Hardest by Declines in the Natural Gas Industry as Prices Outpace Wage Growth, a New Report Suggests [Derived Headline]


Fleisher, Chris, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Homes are becoming less affordable in areas hit hardest by declines in the natural gas industry as prices outpace wage growth, a new report suggests

Washington was the only county of five in the Pittsburgh region where wages declined in the second quarter, falling 2 percent from a year ago, according to the RealtyTrac report released Thursday. Meanwhile, home prices increased 8 percent in the county.

The home price inflation could be the result of new construction that was under way when the gas industry's struggles began, said Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac. New homes built in Washington are the most expensive in the region, with median prices at $364,647, according to RealStats, a South Side-based real estate data firm.

The market will ultimately adjust, Blomquist said, but the short- term impact has been to make homes more expensive when residents working in the natural gas industry are seeing their incomes shrink.

"Home prices do tend to lag what's happening in the economy," Blomquist said. "If there's a downturn, that will take some time to show up in home prices."

The trend in Washington contrasted with other counties, including Allegheny, Butler and Westmoreland, where wages increased faster than median home prices. …

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