These Are The 10 Best Places To Buy A House In Pennsylvania For 2019


Using science and data, we can tell you which places in Pennsylvania have seen home prices rising and people flocking over the past year.

Editor’s note: This is not investment advice and we are not financial advisers. Article updated for 2019.

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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 Duquesne according to our analysis.

Here’s a look at the top ten places to buy a home in Pennsylvania for 2019:

  1. Duquesne (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  2. Ellwood City (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  3. Reading (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  4. Sayre (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  5. Swissvale (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  6. Lewi (Homes For Sale)
  7. Clarion (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  8. Munhall (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  9. Carnegie (Photos | Homes For Sale)
  10. Pittsburgh (Photos | Homes For Sale)

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.

For more Pennsylvania reading, check out:

How do you determine the best places to buy a home in Pennsylvania for 2019?

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 2013-2017 and compared it to the previous vintage (2012-2016). 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:

So of the 1,752 cities and towns in Pennsylvania, only 187 places made it through our initial filters to even be considered.

We then ranked each place from 1 to 187 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 Duquesne is the best potential gem in the not-so-rough in the Keystone State.

Read on for more on these places.

Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 5,544
Median Home Price: $37,800
Population Change: 0.2%
Home Price Change: 5.0%
More on Duquesne: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

The city of Duquesne was settled in 1789 and incorporated in 1891. The city derives its name from Fort Duquesne.

Ellwood City, PA

Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 7,998
Median Home Price: $86,700
Population Change: 1.0%
Home Price Change: 2.5%
More on Ellwood City: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Reading, PA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

3
/10

Population: 88,275
Median Home Price: $69,500
Population Change: 0.4%
Home Price Change: 1.6%
More on Reading: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Lenni Lenape people, also known as “Delaware Indians”, were the original inhabitants of the Reading area.|The Colony of Pennsylvania was a 1680 land grant from King Charles II of England to William Penn. Comprising more than 45,000 square miles, it was named for his father, Sir William Penn.

Sayre, PA

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 5,525
Median Home Price: $128,200
Population Change: 1.1%
Home Price Change: 5.9%
More on Sayre: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

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.

Swissvale, PA

Source: Public domain
Overall SnackAbility

7
/10

Population: 8,881
Median Home Price: $86,300
Population Change: -0.1%
Home Price Change: 10.4%
More on Swissvale: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Swissvale is named after the Swisshelm family. John Swisshelm, who owned a farm where the town is located. John Swisshelm served under General George Washington in the Revolutionary War, and camped at Valley Forge. Swisshelm married Mary Elizabeth Miller, and they had many children. Their son, James Swisshelm, married Jane Grey Cannon, noted abolitionist and political activist, Jane Swisshelm named the town Swisuvale as the town overlooked the Monongahela River Valley. The Pittsburgh neighborhood of Swisshelm Park, adjacent to Swissvale, is also named after John Swisshelm.

Source: Public Domain
Overall SnackAbility

4
/10

Population: 8,264
Median Home Price: $75,400
Population Change: -0.4%
Home Price Change: 7.7%
More on Lewi: Homes For Sale | Data

Clarion, PA

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 5,135
Median Home Price: $118,900
Population Change: 1.2%
Home Price Change: 1.9%
More on Clarion: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Munhall, PA

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 11,296
Median Home Price: $85,400
Population Change: -0.1%
Home Price Change: 4.8%
More on Munhall: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

A post office called Munhall was established in 1887. The borough was formed on June 23, 1901, out of parts of Homestead and Mifflin Township, and named for John Munhall, the original owner of the town site.

Carnegie, PA

Overall SnackAbility

8
/10

Population: 7,935
Median Home Price: $109,100
Population Change: -0.1%
Home Price Change: 10.5%
More on Carnegie: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Carnegie is named after Andrew Carnegie, who donated one of his libraries for the gesture. It was incorporated on March 1, 1894. from the boroughs of Chartiers and Mansfield. Later, the borough annexed part of Robinson Township. Neighborhoods include Rosslyn Heights, Cubbage Hill, Irishtown, Forsythe Hill, Library Hill, and Old Mansfield.

Pittsburgh, PA

Overall SnackAbility

6
/10

Population: 305,012
Median Home Price: $108,500
Population Change: -0.1%
Home Price Change: 7.6%
More on Pittsburgh: PhotosHomes For Sale | Data

Pittsburgh was named in 1758 by General John Forbes, in honor of British statesman William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham. The original pronunciation would have been PITS-br or PITS-b-r, matching similarly named places in Great Britain such as Edinburgh in Scotland and Aldeburgh in Suffolk. Pittsburgh was incorporated as a township in 1771 and as a borough on April 22, 1794, with the following Act: “Be it enacted by the Pennsylvania State Senate and Pennsylvania House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania…by the authority of the same, that the said town of Pittsburgh shall be…erected into a borough, which shall be called the borough of Pittsburgh for ever.”|The current pronunciation, which is extremely unusual in English speaking countries, is almost certainly a result of a printing error in some copies of the City Charter of March 18, 1816. The error was repeated commonly enough throughout the rest of the 19th century that the original pronunciation was lost and in 1890 the “h” was removed in order to make it easier to spell. After a public campaign the original spelling was officially restored by the United States Board on Geographic Names in 1911.

There You Have It – The Best Places To Purchase A House In Pennsylvania for 2019

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:

Detailed List Of The Best Places To Buy A Home In Pennsylvania

City Rank Median Home Price Population Change Home Price Increase
Duquesne 1 $37,800 0.2% 5.0%
Ellwood City 2 $86,700 1.0% 2.5%
Reading 3 $69,500 0.4% 1.6%
Sayre 4 $128,200 1.1% 5.9%
Swissvale 5 $86,300 -0.1% 10.4%
Lewi 6 $75,400 -0.4% 7.7%
Clarion 7 $118,900 1.2% 1.9%
Munhall 8 $85,400 -0.1% 4.8%
Carnegie 9 $109,100 -0.1% 10.5%
Pittsburgh 10 $108,500 -0.1% 7.6%
Tamaqua 11 $60,300 -0.9% 7.5%
Sharon Hill 12 $123,600 0.4% 3.0%
Aliquippa 13 $72,000 -0.9% 10.4%
Bellevue 14 $115,300 -0.2% 9.3%
Chester 15 $67,300 0.1% 0.7%
Pittston 16 $91,100 0.2% 1.9%
Meadville 17 $103,800 -0.2% 5.6%
Philadelphia 18 $151,500 0.6% 2.9%
Mount Joy 19 $163,600 1.2% 3.5%
Carlisle 20 $176,800 0.5% 5.3%
Clearfield 21 $83,800 -0.8% 7.9%
Oxford 22 $206,900 2.0% 4.8%
Prospect Park 23 $196,800 0.4% 8.1%
Sugarcreek 24 $79,200 -0.8% 6.6%
Hazleton 25 $91,300 -0.3% 4.7%
West Chester 26 $338,800 1.4% 5.7%
Bradford 27 $58,400 -1.2% 5.6%
White Oak 28 $100,900 -0.4% 5.1%
Oil City 29 $48,800 -1.0% 4.3%
Catasauqua 30 $157,600 0.5% 2.9%
Wilkinsburg 31 $79,800 -0.3% 2.4%
Sharon 32 $64,500 -1.1% 5.2%
Mckeesport 33 $46,100 -0.2% 0.9%
York 34 $74,400 0.5% -2.2%
Shillington 35 $137,700 0.3% 2.1%
Lancaster 36 $109,700 0.4% 0.4%
Scranton 37 $104,800 0.3% 0.3%
Phoenixville 38 $222,400 0.6% 4.0%
Selinsgrove 39 $145,700 1.1% 1.0%
New Castle 40 $62,000 -0.3% 1.0%
Corry 41 $82,400 -0.2% 1.9%
Wilson 42 $127,900 -0.0% 3.2%
Hanover 43 $155,400 0.5% 1.9%
Plymouth 44 $76,500 -0.0% 0.3%
Middl 45 $112,000 1.1% -1.0%
Jefferson Hills 46 $203,300 0.3% 5.2%
Canonsburg 47 $137,500 -0.2% 5.9%
Milton 48 $122,200 -0.6% 8.6%
Columbia 49 $101,100 0.5% -1.0%
Darby 50 $70,300 0.3% -5.0%
Dormont 51 $123,400 -0.0% 2.0%
Castle Shannon 52 $121,100 -0.4% 4.3%
Harrisburg 53 $82,100 0.2% -2.0%
Steelton 54 $87,400 0.3% -1.1%
Ambler 55 $277,600 0.3% 5.0%
Moosic 56 $152,400 -0.1% 4.0%
Franklin Park 57 $322,100 0.5% 3.2%
Baldwin 58 $125,400 -0.3% 4.0%
Lebanon 59 $88,600 0.2% -0.8%
Brentwood 60 $97,800 -0.2% 1.6%
Palmerton 61 $113,100 -0.3% 2.6%
Pott 62 $127,000 0.4% 0.2%
Collingdale 63 $110,900 0.3% -0.1%
Monaca 64 $107,100 -1.1% 6.7%
Birdsboro 65 $161,100 0.2% 2.5%
Northampton 66 $173,900 0.0% 4.8%
Beaver Falls 67 $61,400 -1.1% 1.8%
Lansdale 68 $227,400 0.3% 3.1%
Jeannette 69 $86,200 -0.6% 1.7%
Perkasie 70 $254,700 0.1% 5.6%
State College 71 $284,300 0.4% 3.1%
Oakmont 72 $178,800 0.3% 2.2%
Clifton Heights 73 $130,900 0.3% 0.5%
Coraopolis 74 $91,700 -0.2% 0.5%
Berwick 75 $99,600 -0.4% 1.6%
Sunbury 76 $79,700 -0.6% 1.1%
Butler 77 $94,300 -0.8% 2.4%
Uniontown 78 $83,100 -1.2% 3.0%
Swarthmore 79 $387,800 0.4% 2.6%
Monessen 80 $74,500 -0.7% 0.9%
Waynesboro 81 $134,300 0.3% 0.3%
New Kensington 82 $97,300 -0.9% 2.6%
Altoona 83 $87,600 -1.0% 2.6%
Vandergrift 84 $66,900 -0.5% 0.0%
Crafton 85 $119,000 -0.2% 1.5%
New Cumberland 86 $171,500 0.2% 2.2%
Nanticoke 87 $81,400 -0.1% -1.2%
Kut 88 $158,000 0.2% 1.5%
West Mifflin 89 $93,800 -0.4% 1.0%
Wyomissing 90 $234,000 0.1% 4.3%
Red Lion 91 $120,000 0.1% 0.3%
Conshohocken 92 $281,700 0.9% 1.3%
Huntingdon 93 $112,400 -0.2% 1.2%
Chambersburg 94 $158,100 0.3% 0.9%
St. Marys 95 $113,400 -1.1% 5.0%
Allentown 96 $124,000 0.4% -1.7%
Franklin 97 $68,600 -1.1% 1.2%
Whitehall 98 $146,300 -0.3% 3.7%
Archbald 99 $145,700 -0.5% 4.2%
East Stroudsburg 100 $148,600 1.3% -1.7%

About Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar has been in the real estate business for almost ten years now. He originally worked for Movoto Real Estate as the director of marketing before founding HomeSnacks.

He believes the key to finding the right place to live comes down to looking at the data, reading about things to do, and, most importantly, checking it out yourself before you move.

If you've been looking for a place to live in the past several years, you've probably stumbled upon his writing already.

You can find out more about him on LinkedIn or his website.

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