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The State of Independence.

Home Mortgage Rates in Pennsylvania

Philadelphia Skyline.

Home buyers in Pennsylvania will find a lot of variation throughout the state in terms of price, real estate taxation, and affordability based on local incomes. Significant differences exist between the western and eastern halves of the Keystone State, with Philadelphia serving as the state's economic center.

Current Real Estate Trends

Home prices in the Keystone State are below national averages, according to the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors. The real estate group estimates the state's median sales price at $170,000 and the average at around $214,000. Both of these are increases of roughly 4% from previous figures.

The National Association of Realtors pegs the country's median home price at $234,000 and the average at $276,000, placing Pennsylvania below the national average. Like state values, the national estimates also reflect upward movements of about 4-5%.

The real estate tracker Trulia shows a heat map of list prices in Pennsylvania. Colors vary from dark green (very low prices) to dark red (very high prices). Most of the Keystone State is green, with some orange and red in the Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Westport, and Driftwood areas.

Recent market research reveals a median list price for condos in the state to be $169,000, and this price has been steadily increasing for several years. The national median list price for condos is roughly $260,000; so Pennsylvania is significantly cheaper here as well.

The latest property research also shows below average prices for 4-bedroom homes in the Keystone State. The national average is $350,000, while Pennsylvanians typically pay just $305,000.

The western half of Pennsylvania tends to have lower property values than the eastern half. The state's Association of Realtors has calculated that while closing prices have increased recently, the number of homes for sale has actually decreased. The group estimates the total number of residential units on the market in the state to be roughly 55,000.

The property group also estimates the affordability in the Keystone State to be roughly 190. This means that the median household income in Pennsylvania is 190% of the salary that lenders generally require to purchase the average house with current interest rates. The higher this number, the more affordable houses are in a region. The national average is in the low 160's.

Historical Real Estate Trends

The Reinvestment Fund, a community services organization headquartered in Philadelphia, published a pamphlet in 2007 noting that, “High percentages of subprime loans in the sample for Pennsylvania have adjustable rate mortgages. This suggests that numerous homeowners will be subject to a significant increase in the interest rate on their loan—and higher monthly mortgage payments—in the short term.” How prophetic that was.

The number of foreclosures in the state did in fact increase after the Great Recession of 2007, but not significantly so. According to data stretching back to 1979 that was obtained from the Reinvestment Fund, Pennsylvania has had above-average foreclosure rates for many years.

According to The Keystone Research Center, a 501(c)(3) economic think tank, housing prices before the mortgage crisis were highly inflated. The group estimates that property values increased by more than 50% from 2001 to 2006. By comparison, the consumer price index increased only 13% during this time. The state's housing prices between these years grew more quickly than both the cost of renting and the cost of construction.

The Keystone Research Center also notes that subprime mortgages in some areas of the state prior to the housing debacle made up over 35% of all mortgages. The group identified some neighborhoods that were as high as 80%.

Pennsylvania did not experience a quick recovery from the Recession. According to the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania, the state experienced a rise in foreclosure filings from 2009 to 2010. The foreclosure rate fell in 2011.

Despite the difficulties the Keystone State has faced since the real estate market crisis, there are signs of recovery. For instance, after bottoming out in 2012, home values in Pennsylvania have been rising ever since, and real estate experts predict they will continue to do so. This trend has been observed with condos, single-family homes, and across all price levels.

A Look Around The State

Metropolitan Areas

PA Rank US Rank Metropolitan Area 2016 Pop 2010 Pop Change % △
1 1 New York-Newark-Jersey City 20,153,634 19,567,410 586,224 3.00%
2 7 Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington 6,070,500 5,965,343 105,157 1.76%
3 26 Pittsburgh 2,342,299 2,356,285 -13,986 -0.59%
4 69 Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton 835,652 821,173 14,479 1.76%
5 96 Harrisburg-Carlisle 568,033 549,475 18,558 3.38%
6 99 Scranton--Wilkes-Barre--Hazleton 555,225 563,631 -8,406 -1.49%
7 101 Youngstown-Warren-Boardman 544,746 565,773 -21,027 -3.72%
8 103 Lancaster 538,500 519,445 19,055 3.67%
9 120 York-Hanover 443,744 434,972 8,772 2.02%
10 129 Reading 414,812 411,442 3,370 0.82%
11 172 Erie 276,207 280,566 -4,359 -1.55%
12 255 East Stroudsburg 166,098 169,842 -3,744 -2.20%
13 259 State College 161,464 153,990 7,474 4.85%
14 269 Chambersburg-Waynesboro 153,851 149,618 4,233 2.83%
15 294 Pottsville 143,573 148,289 -4,716 -3.18%
16 300 Lebanon 138,863 133,568 5,295 3.96%
17 308 Johnstown 134,732 143,679 -8,947 -6.23%
18 327 Altoona 124,650 127,089 -2,439 -1.92%
19 349 Williamsport 115,248 116,111 -863 -0.74%
20 378 Gettysburg 102,180 101,407 773 0.76%
21 407 Sunbury 92,541 94,528 -1,987 -2.10%
22 418 New Castle 87,294 91,108 -3,814 -4.19%
23 419 Indiana 86,364 88,880 -2,516 -2.83%
24 421 Meadville 86,257 88,765 -2,508 -2.83%
25 428 Bloomsburg-Berwick 84,763 85,562 -799 -0.93%
26 444 DuBois 80,596 81,642 -1,046 -1.28%
27 464 Somerset 75,061 77,742 -2,681 -3.45%
28 525 Sayre 60,770 62,622 -1,852 -2.96%
29 575 Oil City 52,582 54,984 -2,402 -4.37%
30 623 Lewistown 46,342 46,682 -340 -0.73%
31 631 Huntingdon 45,634 45,913 -279 -0.61%
32 635 Lewisburg 45,565 44,947 618 1.37%
33 674 Bradford 41,883 43,450 -1,567 -3.61%
34 688 Selinsgrove 40,468 39,702 766 1.93%
35 697 Warren 40,025 41,815 -1,790 -4.28%
36 703 Lock Haven 39,233 39,238 -5 -0.01%
37 812 St. Marys 30,480 31,946 -1,466 -4.59%

Favored Cities in Pennsylvania

Philadelphia

Philadelphia at Night.

The largest city in the Keystone State is Philadelphia, aka The City of Brotherly Love. With a population of over 1.5 million it easily dwarfs the next biggest city, Pittsburgh, which has just 300,000 residents.

Philadelphia is the center of the state's economy, hosting the headquarters of several major companies, including Comcast, Colonial Penn, and Pep Boys. Hospitals and universities also provide many jobs. Unemployment has been a problem in the city, however, with above-average data. Because of Philadelphia's colonial past, the city has a robust tourism industry, with millions visitors and billions of dollars of revenue each year.

The real estate tracker Trulia estimates the median sales price in The City of Brotherly Love to be $172,000. This is an average; downtown Philly and outlying areas will be more expensive. The figure is about a 3% annualized increase over the past several years. On average, there are about 3,000 sales per month. Winters usually see a slower pace of buying activity in the city.

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates the median income in Philadelphia County, which is coterminous with the city, to be just under $39,000. Compared to Trulia's median sales price, we calculate a price-to-income ratio of 4.4. This is a little high; but other regions of the country have higher values. Tucson, Arizona, for example, is at 4.6.

Philadelphia is one of the fastest growing cities in the Keystone State. It has seen its population grow by more than 100,000 residents in a decade. No doubt, the city's vibrant economy is the driving engine behind its population growth.

Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Skyline.

Out west, there is of course Pittsburgh. Times have changed, and the steel industry is no longer the biggest employer. Today, finance, education, and health care create more jobs. The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center is the region's biggest employer.

The National Association of Realtors places the median list price in Pittsburgh at $170,000 with a closing price of just $164,000. Combined with the Census Bureau's median income estimate of $42,000, we calculate a price-to-income ratio of 3.9.

Other Locations

Philadelphia & Pittsburgh dosn't have the lowest housing prices around. To find these in Pennsylvania, you can head northwest to Bradford. This small town is located on the state's border with New York. Bradford has a population of less than 9,000, but still has some significant employers including Zippo, the manufacture of lighters. The knife company Case also has a presence in the town. Wal-Mart and a local hospital provide jobs.

The median sales price of a home in Bradford is a very low $70,000. The U.S. Census Bureau lists the median value of owner-occupied houses to be roughly $76,000. The government's census also estimates the median annual household income to be $44,000 in McKean County, which encompasses Bradford. This produces a price-to-income metric of 1.6, which is fantastic by any standard.

Pike County, in the upper northeastern corner, is a popular area. The Poconos area is an area rich in recreational activities, lots of lakes, rivers and waterfalls, and brags much Federal and State Parkland. Though prices tend to be higher than the rest of the state, they have also been much less volatile than elsewhere in the US. This is a scenic area, and is easily commutable to NYC for weekending trips. Lake Wallenpaupack is a popular local recreational area. Milford PA is the local destination for art and antique lovers.

Lancaster offers good amenities and reasonably stable values. The area is growing, and prices are starting to edge up. There's a good mix of new construction, late model homes, and historic properties. Lancaster is in the heart of Amish Country, and is surrounded by beautiful farmland dotted with old Mennonite stone barns. Adamstown, a popular antiquing destination, is nearby, as is Harrisburg, the state capitol.

The New Hope area is a scenic Upper Bucks County enclave which offers a high quality of life. The New Hope and Lambertville area has always been known as an artists' colony, and there is a theater, great restaurants, some night life featuring live music most nights of the week, and lots of galleries and antique shops. New Hope is easily commutable to Philadelphia and NYC.

People looking to reside in a youthful location may want to consider State College, which is the home of Pennsylvania State University.

Pennsylvania has approved gambling, and some areas in PA now have open casinos, with others planned. The Sands opened a casino in Bethlehem. Pittsburgh also has a casino just outside the city at The Meadows Racetrack. Mount Airy Casino and Resort in the Poconos is now open. Bensalem, Chester, Erie, Grantville, and Wilkes-Barre also have open casinos. Table gambling has been approved statewide. This has helped to keep the Commonwealth from suffering the financial woes that other states have suffered, though budgets are still tight in Harrisburg. Residents were reluctant to see the casinos open, but surprisingly there has been little downside after their opening.

One possible real estate-related issue is the exploitation of the Marcellus Shale Formation for gas extraction by "fracking", though PA is far from alone on this issue, and grassroots activists have united across the country and multiple fracking documentaries have been produced. There have been some disturbing reports of water pollution, methane gas leaking and explosions, mysteriously dead farm animals, and the devastation to woodland and farmland caused by gas drilling companies. Before purchasing it may be wise to do some homework about what's happening in the area you're considering in regards to gas extraction.

Pennsylvania Census Data

According to the United States census an estimated 12,784,227 people live in the state of Pennsylvania. The state has 44,742.7 mi² of land area, which gave it a population density of 283.9 per mi². Here is a list of cities, towns, townships, municipalities & boroughs with more than 10,000 residents, with their estimated population as of June 2016 & the 2010 United States Census. For Census Designated Places (CDP) where there was no population estimate available for 2016 the 2010 population estimate was used.

Rank Region County 2016 Pop 2010 Pop Change % △ Land mi² Pop Den mi²
1 Philadelphia Philadelphia 1,567,872 1,526,006 41,866 2.74% 134.1 11,691.81
2 Pittsburgh Allegheny 303,625 305,704 -2,079 -0.68% 55.37 5,483.57
3 Allentown Lehigh 120,443 118,032 2,411 2.04% 17.55 6,862.85
4 Erie Erie 98,593 101,786 -3,193 -3.14% 19.08 5,167.35
5 Reading Berks 87,575 88,082 -507 -0.58% 9.88 8,863.87
Upper Darby township Delaware 82,629 82,795 -166 -0.20% 7.83 10,552.87
6 Scranton Lackawanna 77,291 76,089 1,202 1.58% 25.31 3,053.77
7 Bethlehem Northampton & Lehigh 75,293 74,982 311 0.41% 19.1 3,942.04
Bensalem township Bucks 60,329 60,427 -98 -0.16% 19.84 3,040.78
8 Lancaster Lancaster 59,218 59,322 -104 -0.18% 7.23 8,190.59
Lower Merion township Montgomery 58,288 57,825 463 0.80% 23.67 2,462.53
Abington township Montgomery 55,577 55,310 267 0.48% 15.51 3,583.30
Millcreek township Erie 53,773 53,515 258 0.48% 32.07 1,676.74
Bristol township Bucks 53,771 54,582 -811 -1.49% 15.94 3,373.34
Levittown CDP Bucks 52,983 52,983 0 0.00% 10.16 5,214.86
Haverford township Delaware 49,029 48,491 538 1.11% 9.95 4,927.54
9 Harrisburg Dauphin 48,904 49,528 -624 -1.26% 8.13 6,015.25
Lower Paxton township Dauphin 48,740 47,360 1,380 2.91% 28.17 1,730.21
Middletown township Bucks 45,299 45,436 -137 -0.30% 18.9 2,396.77
10 Altoona Blair 44,589 46,320 -1,731 -3.74% 9.91 4,499.39
11 York York 43,859 43,718 141 0.32% 5.29 8,290.93
12 State College borough Centre 41,992 42,034 -42 -0.10% 4.56 9,208.77
Penn Hills township Allegheny 41,555 42,329 -774 -1.83% 19.12 2,173.38
Hempfield township Westmoreland 41,335 43,241 -1,906 -4.41% 76.73 538.71
13 Wilkes-Barre Luzerne 40,569 41,498 -929 -2.24% 6.98 5,812.18
Manheim township Lancaster 39,893 38,133 1,760 4.62% 23.86 1,671.96
Northampton township Bucks 39,443 39,726 -283 -0.71% 25.68 1,535.94
Cheltenham township Montgomery 37,103 36,793 310 0.84% 9.04 4,104.31
14 Norristown borough Montgomery 34,370 34,324 46 0.13% 3.52 9,764.20
15 Chester Delaware 33,988 33,972 16 0.05% 4.84 7,022.31
Falls township Bucks 33,714 34,300 -586 -1.71% 21.26 1,585.79
Lower Makefield township Bucks 32,749 32,559 190 0.58% 17.87 1,832.62
Mount Lebanon township Allegheny 32,475 33,137 -662 -2.00% 6.08 5,341.28
Warminster township Bucks 32,460 32,682 -222 -0.68% 10.16 3,194.88
Lower Macungie township Lehigh 31,964 30,633 1,331 4.34% 22.35 1,430.16
16 Bethel Park Allegheny 31,911 32,313 -402 -1.24% 11.67 2,734.45
Radnor township Delaware 31,814 31,531 283 0.90% 13.78 2,308.71
Ridley township Delaware 31,038 30,768 270 0.88% 5.12 6,062.11
Ross township Allegheny 30,745 31,105 -360 -1.16% 14.47 2,124.74
Cranberry township Butler 30,739 28,098 2,641 9.40% 22.82 1,347.02
North Huntingdon township Westmoreland 30,681 30,609 72 0.24% 27.26 1,125.50
Hampden township Cumberland 29,585 28,044 1,541 5.49% 17.34 1,706.17
Tredyffrin township Chester 29,423 29,332 91 0.31% 19.76 1,489.02
17 Williamsport Lycoming 28,834 29,381 -547 -1.86% 8.73 3,302.86
McCandless township Allegheny 28,755 28,457 298 1.05% 16.5 1,742.73
Upper Merion township Montgomery 28,640 28,395 245 0.86% 16.96 1,688.68
York township York 28,469 27,793 676 2.43% 25.24 1,127.93
Shaler township Allegheny 28,286 28,757 -471 -1.64% 11.08 2,552.89
Drexel Hill CDP Delaware 28,043 28,043 0 0.00% 3.19 8,790.91
18 Monroeville Allegheny 27,953 28,386 -433 -1.53% 19.74 1,416.06
Whitehall township Lehigh 27,423 26,738 685 2.56% 12.57 2,181.62
19 Plum borough Allegheny 27,399 27,126 273 1.01% 28.58 958.68
Spring township Berks 27,388 27,119 269 0.99% 18.48 1,482.03
20 Easton Northampton 26,978 26,800 178 0.66% 4.07 6,628.50
Springettsbury township York 26,864 26,668 196 0.73% 16.38 1,640.05
Horsham township Montgomery 26,645 26,147 498 1.90% 17.32 1,538.39
Lower Providence township Montgomery 26,617 25,436 1,181 4.64% 15.25 1,745.38
Upper Dublin township Montgomery 26,225 25,569 656 2.57% 13.23 1,982.24
Montgomery township Montgomery 26,143 24,790 1,353 5.46% 10.63 2,459.36
Exeter township Berks 25,797 25,550 247 0.97% 24.23 1,064.67
21 Lebanon Lebanon 25,726 25,477 249 0.98% 4.17 6,169.30
Moon township Allegheny 25,580 24,185 1,395 5.77% 23.92 1,069.40
Derry township Dauphin 25,025 24,679 346 1.40% 27.2 920.04
Susquehanna township Dauphin 24,913 24,036 877 3.65% 13.34 1,867.54
22 Hazleton Luzerne 24,659 25,340 -681 -2.69% 6.01 4,103.00
Swatara township Dauphin 24,651 23,362 1,289 5.52% 13.05 1,888.97
East Hempfield township Lancaster 24,366 23,522 844 3.59% 21.07 1,156.43
Springfield township Delaware 24,342 24,211 131 0.54% 6.32 3,851.58
Warrington township Bucks 24,227 23,418 809 3.45% 13.7 1,768.39
Upper Moreland township Montgomery 24,210 24,015 195 0.81% 7.97 3,037.64
Upper Macungie township Lehigh 23,884 20,063 3,821 19.05% 26.07 916.15
Upper Providence township Montgomery 23,853 21,219 2,634 12.41% 17.81 1,339.30
Marple township Delaware 23,780 23,428 352 1.50% 10.2 2,331.37
Bethlehem township Northampton 23,592 23,730 -138 -0.58% 14.38 1,640.61
West Goshen township Chester 23,037 21,866 1,171 5.36% 11.85 1,944.05
23 Pottstown borough Montgomery 22,661 22,377 284 1.27% 4.89 4,634.15
Unity township Westmoreland 22,324 22,607 -283 -1.25% 67.44 331.02
Peters township Washington 22,143 21,213 930 4.38% 19.55 1,132.63
24 New Castle Lawrence 22,142 23,273 -1,131 -4.86% 8.31 2,664.50
East Pennsboro township Cumberland 21,633 20,228 1,405 6.95% 10.39 2,082.10
Allison Park CDP Allegheny 21,552 21,552 0 0.00% 13.84 1,557.23
Palmer township Northampton 21,469 20,691 778 3.76% 10.75 1,997.12
Dover township York 21,464 21,078 386 1.83% 41.56 516.46
Manor township Lancaster 20,756 19,612 1,144 5.83% 38.33 541.51
25 Chambersburg borough Franklin 20,691 20,268 423 2.09% 6.92 2,990.03
Buckingham township Bucks 20,306 20,075 231 1.15% 32.88 617.58
Coolbaugh township Monroe 20,210 20,564 -354 -1.72% 86.21 234.43
Muhlenberg township Berks 20,082 19,628 454 2.31% 11.78 1,704.75
26 Murrysville Westmoreland 20,042 20,079 -37 -0.18% 36.84 544.03
King of Prussia CDP Montgomery 19,936 19,936 0 0.00% 8.49 2,348.17
27 West Chester borough Chester 19,928 18,461 1,467 7.95% 1.85 10,771.89
28 West Mifflin borough Allegheny 19,921 20,313 -392 -1.93% 14.21 1,401.90
Upper Allen township Cumberland 19,818 18,059 1,759 9.74% 13.2 1,501.36
Upper St. Clair township Allegheny 19,813 19,229 584 3.04% 9.82 2,017.62
South Whitehall township Lehigh 19,794 19,180 614 3.20% 17.08 1,158.90
29 Baldwin borough Allegheny 19,734 19,767 -33 -0.17% 5.78 3,414.19
Newtown township Bucks 19,720 19,299 421 2.18% 11.9 1,657.14
30 Johnstown Cambria 19,712 20,978 -1,266 -6.03% 5.89 3,346.69
Springfield township Montgomery 19,685 19,418 267 1.38% 6.78 2,903.39
Penn township Westmoreland 19,580 20,005 -425 -2.12% 30.76 636.54
Lower Allen township Cumberland 19,366 17,980 1,386 7.71% 10.13 1,911.75
Ferguson township Centre 19,350 17,690 1,660 9.38% 47.65 406.09
Whitpain township Montgomery 19,308 18,875 433 2.29% 12.85 1,502.57
31 McKeesport Allegheny 19,273 19,731 -458 -2.32% 5.04 3,824.01
32 Carlisle borough Cumberland 19,162 18,682 480 2.57% 5.53 3,465.10
Lower Southampton township Bucks 19,093 18,909 184 0.97% 6.69 2,853.96
Limerick township Montgomery 18,994 18,074 920 5.09% 22.51 843.80
Uwchlan township Chester 18,977 18,088 889 4.91% 10.4 1,824.71
West Manchester township York 18,870 18,894 -24 -0.13% 19.94 946.34
Stroud township Monroe 18,703 19,213 -510 -2.65% 31.05 602.35
Manchester township York 18,567 18,161 406 2.24% 15.88 1,169.21
Warwick township Lancaster 18,559 17,783 776 4.36% 19.78 938.27
Hampton township Allegheny 18,440 18,363 77 0.42% 16.2 1,138.27
West Whiteland township Chester 18,410 18,274 136 0.74% 12.83 1,434.92
Towamencin township Montgomery 18,355 17,578 777 4.42% 9.68 1,896.18
East Goshen township Chester 18,265 18,026 239 1.33% 10.05 1,817.41
Windsor township York 17,970 17,504 466 2.66% 27.28 658.72
Whitemarsh township Montgomery 17,795 17,349 446 2.57% 14.59 1,219.67
Concord township Delaware 17,726 17,231 495 2.87% 13.62 1,301.47
Plymouth township Montgomery 17,642 16,525 1,117 6.76% 8.39 2,102.74
Doylestown township Bucks 17,559 17,565 -6 -0.03% 15.32 1,146.15
Hatfield township Montgomery 17,557 17,249 308 1.79% 9.94 1,766.30
Greene township Franklin 17,554 16,700 854 5.11% 57.3 306.35
Harborcreek township Erie 17,517 17,234 283 1.64% 34.09 513.85
Fairview township York 17,294 16,668 626 3.76% 116.73 148.15
Lancaster township Lancaster 17,077 16,149 928 5.75% 5.85 2,919.15
Upper Chichester township Delaware 16,992 16,738 254 1.52% 6.69 2,539.91
East Lampeter township Lancaster 16,966 16,424 542 3.30% 19.66 862.97
Silver Spring township Cumberland 16,954 13,657 3,297 24.14% 32.31 524.73
33 Phoenixville borough Chester 16,885 16,440 445 2.71% 3.51 4,810.54
Butler township Butler 16,770 17,248 -478 -2.77% 21.62 775.67
Scott township Allegheny 16,732 17,024 -292 -1.72% 3.91 4,279.28
Aston township Delaware 16,706 16,592 114 0.69% 5.84 2,860.62
Chestnuthill township Monroe 16,612 17,156 -544 -3.17% 37.38 444.41
34 Lansdale borough Montgomery 16,521 16,269 252 1.55% 2.99 5,525.42
West Hempfield township Lancaster 16,488 16,153 335 2.07% 18.45 893.66
Upper Saucon township Lehigh 16,462 14,808 1,654 11.17% 24.46 673.02
Penn township York 16,282 15,612 670 4.29% 12.94 1,258.27
North Whitehall township Lehigh 16,255 15,703 552 3.52% 28.06 579.29
Patton township Centre 15,988 15,311 677 4.42% 24.53 651.77
Middletown township Delaware 15,984 15,807 177 1.12% 13.47 1,186.64
Upper Gwynedd township Montgomery 15,975 15,552 423 2.72% 8.13 1,964.94
White township Indiana 15,968 15,821 147 0.93% 42.35 377.05
West Lampeter township Lancaster 15,952 15,209 743 4.89% 16.4 972.68
35 Hermitage Mercer 15,867 16,220 -353 -2.18% 29.24 542.65
West Norriton township Montgomery 15,766 15,663 103 0.66% 5.89 2,676.74
Willow Grove CDP Montgomery 15,726 15,726 0 0.00% 3.66 4,296.72
Middle Smithfield township Monroe 15,647 15,997 -350 -2.19% 53.12 294.56
36 Wilkinsburg borough Allegheny 15,586 15,930 -344 -2.16% 2.25 6,927.11
South Fayette township Allegheny 15,576 14,416 1,160 8.05% 20.38 764.28
37 Hanover borough York 15,561 15,289 272 1.78% 3.71 4,194.34
Antrim township Franklin 15,547 14,893 654 4.39% 70.24 221.34
Newberry township York 15,495 15,285 210 1.37% 30.41 509.54
Forks township Northampton 15,417 14,721 696 4.73% 12.11 1,273.08
Lower Salford township Montgomery 15,416 14,959 457 3.06% 14.44 1,067.59
South Middleton township Cumberland 15,352 14,663 689 4.70% 48.71 315.17
Cumru township Berks 15,334 15,147 187 1.23% 20.9 733.68
Hilltown township Bucks 15,243 15,029 214 1.42% 26.97 565.18
Upper Southampton township Bucks 15,041 15,152 -111 -0.73% 6.62 2,272.05
Fullerton CDP Lehigh 14,925 14,925 0 0.00% 3.68 4,055.71
Horsham CDP Montgomery 14,842 14,842 0 0.00% 5.47 2,713.35
Guilford township Franklin 14,793 14,531 262 1.80% 51.02 289.95
Skippack township Montgomery 14,726 13,715 1,011 7.37% 13.84 1,064.02
Warwick township Bucks 14,632 14,437 195 1.35% 10.97 1,333.82
38 Bloomsburg Columbia 14,586 14,855 -269 -1.81% 4.35 3,353.10
Washington township Franklin 14,586 14,009 577 4.12% 39.05 373.52
North Strabane township Washington 14,580 13,408 1,172 8.74% 27.26 534.85
North Fayette township Allegheny 14,554 13,934 620 4.45% 25.18 578.00
39 Franklin Park borough Allegheny 14,518 13,470 1,048 7.78% 13.52 1,073.82
40 Greensburg Westmoreland 14,430 14,892 -462 -3.10% 4.06 3,554.19
Hershey CDP Dauphin 14,257 14,257 0 0.00% 14.36 992.83
Derry township Westmoreland 14,108 14,502 -394 -2.72% 95.09 148.36
Caln township Chester 14,097 13,817 280 2.03% 8.86 1,591.08
East Norriton township Montgomery 14,080 13,590 490 3.61% 6.05 2,327.27
41 Indiana borough Indiana 13,981 13,975 6 0.04% 1.76 7,943.75
42 Ephrata borough Lancaster 13,833 13,394 439 3.28% 3.42 4,044.74
Nether Providence township Delaware 13,779 13,706 73 0.53% 4.71 2,925.48
Salisbury township Lehigh 13,763 13,505 258 1.91% 11.17 1,232.14
43 Whitehall borough Allegheny 13,749 13,944 -195 -1.40% 3.33 4,128.83
44 Pottsville Schuylkill 13,738 14,324 -586 -4.09% 4.17 3,294.48
Robinson township Allegheny 13,719 13,354 365 2.73% 14.91 920.12
Plumstead township Bucks 13,687 12,442 1,245 10.01% 27.16 503.94
Adams township Butler 13,546 11,652 1,894 16.25% 22.4 604.73
45 Washington Washington 13,514 13,663 -149 -1.09% 2.95 4,581.02
46 Sharon Mercer 13,405 14,038 -633 -4.51% 3.77 3,555.70
South Park township Allegheny 13,379 13,416 -37 -0.28% 9.27 1,443.26
Franconia township Montgomery 13,263 13,064 199 1.52% 13.83 959.00
Colonial Park CDP Dauphin 13,229 13,229 0 0.00% 4.76 2,779.20
Lower Moreland township Montgomery 13,213 12,982 231 1.78% 7.28 1,814.97
Richland township Bucks 13,200 13,052 148 1.13% 20.65 639.23
47 Dunmore borough Lackawanna 13,187 14,057 -870 -6.19% 8.92 1,478.36
48 Butler Butler 13,155 13,757 -602 -4.38% 2.72 4,836.40
Elizabeth township Allegheny 13,107 13,271 -164 -1.24% 22.83 574.11
49 Coatesville Chester 13,064 13,100 -36 -0.27% 1.81 7,217.68
Newtown township Delaware 13,047 12,216 831 6.80% 10.02 1,302.10
50 Meadville Crawford 12,964 13,388 -424 -3.17% 4.38 2,959.82
Spring Garden township York 12,963 12,578 385 3.06% 6.76 1,917.60
Pine township Allegheny 12,937 11,497 1,440 12.53% 16.96 762.79
Weigelstown CDP York 12,875 12,875 0 0.00% 5.81 2,216.01
Amity township Berks 12,874 12,583 291 2.31% 18.17 708.53
51 Kingston borough Luzerne 12,861 13,182 -321 -2.44% 2.13 6,038.03
West Bradford township Chester 12,858 12,223 635 5.20% 18.5 695.03
New Hanover township Montgomery 12,776 10,939 1,837 16.79% 21.68 589.30
Montgomeryville CDP Montgomery 12,624 12,624 0 0.00% 4.76 2,652.10
52 New Kensington Westmoreland 12,592 13,116 -524 -4.00% 3.95 3,187.85
Logan township Blair 12,561 12,289 272 2.21% 46.39 270.77
53 St. Marys Elk 12,499 13,070 -571 -4.37% 99.32 125.85
Ardmore CDP Montgomery & Delaware 12,455 12,455 0 0.00% 1.97 6,322.34
Fernway CDP Butler 12,414 12,414 0 0.00% 5.38 2,307.43
Cecil township Washington 12,412 11,271 1,141 10.12% 26.3 471.94
Hopewell township Beaver 12,382 12,593 -211 -1.68% 16.76 738.78
North Union township Fayette 12,360 12,728 -368 -2.89% 39.02 316.76
Richland township Cambria 12,244 12,814 -570 -4.45% 20.59 594.66
Somerset township Somerset 12,231 12,122 109 0.90% 64.17 190.60
Lower Pottsgrove township Montgomery 12,164 12,059 105 0.87% 7.92 1,535.86
New Garden township Chester 12,053 11,984 69 0.58% 16.11 748.17
West Deer township Allegheny 11,902 11,771 131 1.11% 28.87 412.26
North Lebanon township Lebanon 11,897 11,429 468 4.09% 16.75 710.27
Rapho township Lancaster 11,820 10,442 1,378 13.20% 47.42 249.26
Center township Beaver 11,652 11,795 -143 -1.21% 15.05 774.22
54 Elizabethtown borough Lancaster 11,629 11,545 84 0.73% 2.64 4,404.92
Hanover township Northampton 11,575 10,866 709 6.52% 6.55 1,767.18
Dingman township Pike 11,559 11,926 -367 -3.08% 58.19 198.64
Lower Gwynedd township Montgomery 11,558 11,405 153 1.34% 9.3 1,242.80
North Middleton township Cumberland 11,558 11,143 415 3.72% 23.19 498.40
East Whiteland township Chester 11,517 10,650 867 8.14% 10.94 1,052.74
Richland township Allegheny 11,515 11,100 415 3.74% 14.63 787.08
Upper Uwchlan township Chester 11,500 11,227 273 2.43% 10.89 1,056.01
55 Yeadon borough Delaware 11,493 11,443 50 0.44% 1.59 7,228.30
Salisbury township Lancaster 11,408 11,062 346 3.13% 41.76 273.18
56 Emmaus borough Lehigh 11,394 11,211 183 1.63% 2.89 3,942.56
Carnot-Moon CDP Allegheny 11,372 11,372 0 0.00% 5.98 1,901.67
57 Lower Burrell Westmoreland 11,367 11,761 -394 -3.35% 11.26 1,009.50
58 Jefferson Hills borough Allegheny 11,307 10,619 688 6.48% 16.52 684.44
Shiloh CDP York 11,218 11,218 0 0.00% 4.22 2,658.29
New Britain township Bucks 11,199 11,070 129 1.17% 14.76 758.74
59 Munhall borough Allegheny 11,177 11,406 -229 -2.01% 2.3 4,859.57
Hamilton township Franklin 11,155 10,788 367 3.40% 35.54 313.87
Loyalsock township Lycoming 11,148 11,026 122 1.11% 21.15 527.09
Rostraver township Westmoreland 11,090 11,363 -273 -2.40% 32.28 343.56
Mountain Top CDP Luzerne 10,982 10,982 0 0.00% 15.04 730.19
Willistown township Chester 10,898 10,497 401 3.82% 18.11 601.77
Westtown township Chester 10,865 10,827 38 0.35% 8.66 1,254.62
Hanover township Luzerne 10,860 11,076 -216 -1.95% 18.87 575.52
60 Waynesboro borough Franklin 10,845 10,568 277 2.62% 3.41 3,180.35
Lower Saucon township Northampton 10,813 10,772 41 0.38% 24.27 445.53
Broomall CDP Delaware 10,789 10,789 0 0.00% 2.89 3,733.22
Pocono township Monroe 10,757 11,065 -308 -2.78% 34.24 314.16
Sandy township Clearfield 10,656 10,625 31 0.29% 51.96 205.08
61 Darby borough Delaware 10,654 10,687 -33 -0.31% 0.84 12,683.33
62 Lansdowne borough Delaware 10,606 10,620 -14 -0.13% 1.18 8,988.14
Easttown township Chester 10,594 10,477 117 1.12% 8.23 1,287.24
South Union township Fayette 10,575 10,681 -106 -0.99% 16.76 630.97
Mount Pleasant township Westmoreland 10,568 10,911 -343 -3.14% 55.94 188.92
East Cocalico township Lancaster 10,495 10,310 185 1.79% 20.43 513.71
Douglass township Montgomery 10,489 10,195 294 2.88% 15.29 686.00
Upper Providence township Delaware 10,446 10,142 304 3.00% 5.6 1,865.36
63 Wyomissing borough Berks 10,420 10,461 -41 -0.39% 4.48 2,325.89
Lehigh township Northampton 10,419 10,526 -107 -1.02% 29.28 355.84
Harrison township Allegheny 10,372 10,461 -89 -0.85% 7.36 1,409.24
64 Columbia borough Lancaster 10,359 10,400 -41 -0.39% 2.41 4,298.34
Coal township Northumberland 10,351 10,383 -32 -0.31% 26.36 392.68
Lehman township Pike 10,286 10,663 -377 -3.54% 48.94 210.18
65 East Stroudsburg borough Monroe 10,189 9,840 349 3.55% 2.84 3,587.68
66 Nanticoke Luzerne 10,189 10,465 -276 -2.64% 3.46 2,944.80
Fairview township Erie 10,150 10,102 48 0.48% 28.97 350.36
67 Berwick borough Columbia 10,138 10,477 -339 -3.24% 3.08 3,291.56
North Versailles township Allegheny 10,087 10,229 -142 -1.39% 8.02 1,257.73
West Hanover township Dauphin 10,043 9343 700 7.49% 23.21 432.70
68 Oil City Venango 10,017 10,557 -540 -5.12% 4.49 2,230.96
69 Uniontown Fayette 9,942 10,372 -430 -4.15% 2.04 4,873.53

Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2016
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division
Release Date: May 2017.

Qualifying for a Home Loan

Conforming Mortgages

A variety of home loans are available in the Keystone State. These include fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages. The fixed-rate products have APR's that don't fluctuate through the term of the loan—hence, the term fixed. They come in 10, 15, 20, and 30-year terms.

The 30-year mortgage is the most popular in Pennsylvania because it offers the lowest monthly payment. The longer the loan's term, however, the higher the interest rate will be. Switching to a 15-year mortgage from a 30-year would save tens of thousands of dollars in interest payments.

Adjustable-rate loans frequently offer lower initial APR's than 30-year fixed mortgages. But there is one caveat to these products: their interests change while you're living in the house. The initial rate typically lasts 3, 5, 7, or 10 years, depending on the terms of the ARM loan. Then it will change once per year. Balloon mortgages are another route for aspiring homeowners. Balloon mortgages are when a large portion of the borrowed principle is repaid in a single payment at the end of the loan period. Balloon loans are not common for most residential buyers, but are more common for commercial loans and people with significant financial assets.

Mortgage lenders that provide these loans usually want a 20% down payment, which can be a lot of dough when assessed against a house. Debt-to-income ratios under 40% are preferable, and credit scores above 740 receive the best interest rates.

As a general rule of thumb, coming to the table with a 20 percent down payment is usually the best approach. This down payment requirement does not apply for Federal assistance programs such as FHA, in which applicants can have a lower credit score and income but still receive financing. The piggyback loan is another type of mortgage which is simply two mortgages in one. The piggyback loan can eliminate the need for private mortgage insurance by covering 80% of the home's value with the first loan, while the second loan helps to pay for part of the down payment.

The conforming loan limit is $424,100 across most parts of the nation, but Pike County is considered a High Cost Area with 2017 conforming loan limits of $636,150, $814,500, $984,525 & $1,223,475 for 1, 2, 3 & 4 unit dwellings.

Government Financial Assistance Programs

Home buyers who don't meet these standards might qualify for attractive terms with a government program. The Veterans Administration offers mortgages to previous members of the armed forces. The VA doesn't require any down payment, but it will charge a funding fee that ranges from 1.25% to 3.3%. Lower funding fees are available to borrowers who are able to put something down.

The Federal Housing Administration is another government agency that provides home loans. The FHA loan program requires a 3.5% down payment with just a 580 credit score. Insurance premiums are required by the FHA on any mortgage with a down payment of less than 20%. For former members of the U.S. military, the Veterans Administration provides an unbeatable deal by offering mortgages with zero down payment required. There is a funding fee for veterans who choose this option, however. It is between 1.25% and 3.3% of the loan's value. Borrowers who choose to make a down payment are offered a lower funding fee. VA loans are underwritten by private banks, and insured by the U.S. government.

Housing assistance is available to Pennsylvania residents. There are several programs that offer a variety of services. One in particular helps borrowers with down payments and closing costs. Another program helps Pennsylvanians with disabilities, while yet another provides homebuyer counseling. There are also programs to assist current home owners with property improvements and repairs. The state's real estate services are offered through the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency.

Laws Particular to the Keystone State

Ben Franklin Bridge.

Taxes

Property taxes in Pennsylvania are assessed at the county level, and there is a wide variation in effective tax rates from place to place. For example, residents of Allegheny County pay 2.16%, while Bedford County is at 0.91%.

Philadelphia County, which is the same size as the city, simply uses current market value as assessed value. It charges 0.92%, one of the lowest rates in the state. Neighboring counties, which have some of the area's prime real estate, have much higher rates. A home in Montgomery County, which shares a border with Philadelphia County, is charged $1,440 per $100,000 of assessed value.

Disclosures

Pennsylvania law requires home sellers to disclose “known material defects” that aren't easily seen. These features include structural problems and similar issues. According to the Pennsylvania Department of State, types of issues that must be noted include roof repairs or damage, pest or termite problems, or plumbing troubles. The problems must be disclosed before the sale is finalized.

Foreclosures

Foreclosures in Pennsylvania are handled within the state's court system. These are known as judicial foreclosures for obvious reasons. Nonjudicial foreclosures, which bypass a court of law, are not available. In the case of loan default, the lender will file a lawsuit at the state level. The complaint is then served, with a summons, to the borrower, who has one month to answer it. After the judge rules in favor of the plaintiff, the property is auctioned off to the highest bidder.

Some counties do have a mediation program to assist parties involved with a foreclosure. These programs can help to circumvent the state's judicial system.

Mortgage defaults in the Keystone State follow the recourse protocol, meaning that a lender can pursue a borrower's personal assets in a court of law, in addition to the loan's collateral. In non-recourse states, the lender can only pursue the collateral, which typically is the home itself.

Pennsylvania allows for deficiency judgments in the case of home auctions that don't produce enough revenue to pay off the corresponding mortgages. A deficiency judgment is not often used in the Keystone State, and it is limited by law to the property's fair market value.

Learn More

Although the state had a difficult time climbing out of the Great Recession, property values are now on the rise. The western half of the state offers the lowest real estate prices, although Philadelphia tends to be the state's magnet for job hunters. This economic strength comes at a cost, however, as it doesn't offer the best value in home prices when compared to local incomes.

For further details on Pennsylvania's real estate market, be sure to visit the following sites: