There’s a the age old question everyone thinks about when they decide to move to a city in Pennsylvania:
Should I buy a place or rent?
Well, we aren’t here today to solve that problem for you exactly. We are just assuming you’ll do the right thing and a buy a place 😉
And while we are happy to tell you the best place to live in Pennsylvania, this analysis is going to tackle the question of the best place to buy a house as an investor. That is we are going to try and determine the up and coming cities in the Keystone State.
To do that we are going to look at places in Pennsylvania that are growing faster than average, but where home prices are below average. In every day terms, the ‘deals’.
The best deal in Pennsylvania at the moment? That would be California according to our analysis.
Here’s a look at the top ten places to buy a home in Pennsylvania:
- California (Photos | Homes)
- Milton (Photos | Homes)
- Palmerton (Photos | Homes)
- Grove City (Photos | Homes)
- Taylor (Photos | Homes)
- Sayre (Photos | Homes)
- Dormont (Photos | Homes)
- Castle Shannon (Photos | Homes)
- Bridgeville (Photos | Homes)
- Baldwin (Photos | Homes)
The methodology that wen’t into this can be a bit complicated, so we’ll break it down for you in as much detail as we can below.
If you’re not worried about finding a deal on good places to live, check out the most expensive places to live in Pennsylvania and, for those of you on a budget, the cheapest places to live in Pennsylvania.
How do you determine the best places to buy a home in Pennsylvania?
We were in real estate for almost five years and have been working on this site for another three. Suffice is to say, we’ve put a lot of thought into what goes into finding a good place to buy a home.
So all that thinking has come to this moment where we get to spell out how we’d approach finding an up-and-coming place to live in Pennsylvania. Put differently, the analysis will try to find places in Pennsylvania with undervalued homes relative to pent up demand.
To do that we looked at the most recent American Community Survey Census data for 2012-2016 and compared it to the previous vintage (2011-2015). Specifically, we used the following criteria:
- Y-o-Y Change In Population (People want to live here)
- Y-o-Y Change In Median Home Prices (People are willing to pay for it)
- Home Prices Relative To The State Average (It’s still kinda cheap)
We want places that are growing, have seen home prices increase in recent years, and are still ‘cheap’ for Pennsylvania with the following caveats:
- Home prices had to be within 20% of the state average (Much lower than that and you get to some of the more dangerous places)
- Home prices increased in the last year, and
- Above 5,000 people (Bigger cities have more data points)
So of the 1,752 cities and towns in Pennsylvania, only 19 places made it through our initial filters to even be considered.
We then ranked each place from 1 to 19 for the criteria mentioned above with 1 being the best for that criteria. We averaged the rankings to create a ‘best place to buy’ index with the place having the lowest index being the best.
Turns out that California is the best potential gem in the not-so-rough in the Keystone State.
Read on for more on these places.
When founded in 1849, the town was named California, though Columbia and Sagamore were names that were also suggested for the new town. Before there were mayors in California, there were burgesses, the first of whom was Solomon Sibbitt.
Settled in 1770, it was incorporated in 1817, and is governed by a charter that was revised in 1890. Formerly, its extensive manufacturing plants included car and woodworking machinery shops; rolling, flour, knitting, planing, and saw mills; washer, nut, and bolt works; and furniture, shoe, couch, nail, fly net, bamboo novelty, and paper-box factories. In 1900, 6,175 people lived in Milton. In 1940, 8,313 people lived there. The population was 6,650 at the 2000 census, and 7,042 at the 2010 census.
Native Americans lived in the area that is now Palmerton for many years. Early European settlers established the villages of Hazard and Little Gap, which were part of Lower Towamensing Township. There was also an Underground Railroad station there. Palmerton was officially incorporated in 1912.
4. Grove City
In May 1870, a Waverly banker named Howard Elmer, along with Charles Anthony and James Fritcher, bought the Pine Plains area between Waverly and Athens. Elmer convinced Asa Packer to locate a new railroad repair facility on the Pine Plains for the expanding Lehigh Valley Railroad, which was making a push north to connect to the Erie Railroad at Waverly. Robert Heysham Sayre, president of the Pennsylvania and New York Railroad, helped cement the deal. The town was named in his honor. Sayre was incorporated on January 27, 1891.
The territory in which Dormont Borough is situated was held by the Delaware and Shawnee tribes until 1768 when the territory was part of the transaction in which Fort Stanwix was purchased from the Six Nations. In following years, Dormont?s area was part of Cumberland County, Pitt Township in Bedford County, Penn Township in Washington County, and finally, St. Clair Township in Allegheny County in 1788.
The first families settled Castle Shannon in 1786 in pursuit of farmland and timber. The most prominent farm was owned by David Strawbridge, who named it Castle Shanahan. Over time, the farm would lend its name to the area, as ‘Shanahan’ would evolve into ‘Shannon’. In 1872, the Pittsburgh and Castle Shannon Railroad line was completed, providing a direct link from Pittsburgh to the then-village of Castle Shannon. Development was stimulated by two years of free transportation and lumber transport given to anybody building a home.
The village that eventually became Bridgeville acquired its name because of the first bridge built at the crossing of Chartiers Creek at the south end of what is now Washington Avenue.
The borough was named for Henry Baldwin (1780?1844), a U.S. Congressman from Pennsylvania and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. Baldwin Borough was incorporated on October 27, 1950, from Baldwin Township.
There You Have It – The Best Places To Purchase A House In Pennsylvania
There’s our analysis of the best places to buy a house in Pennsylvania. And, to be clear, we aren’t necessarily saying these places are the best places to live, just that it looks like they might be in a couple of years based on the data.
In fact, every place in the following table meets our criteria, so even though it may not look super long, remember we started off with all 0 places in the state.
So if we’d could rent or buy in these cities, we’d definitely buy.
For more Pennsylvania reading, check out:
- 10 Safest Places In Pennsylvania
- 10 Most Dangerous Cities In Pennsylvania
- 10 Worst Places To Live In Pennsylvania
Detailed List Of The Best Places To Buy A Home In Pennsylvania