Is Pittsburgh, PA real estate too risky to invest in?

11 Replies

Hi guys,

Does anybody consider Pittsburgh, PA for RE investment? I would like to invest there but population statistics doesn't look good. Pittsburgh MSA population decreased for 5.5% over 1990-2017. This fact scares me. There are small mobile home parks in Pittsburgh neighborhoods which give good return. Beaver county looks good in that case. Could you please let me know what do you think about that type of investment. Could anyone from Pittsburgh let me know if it is easy to sell real estate there? 

Thank you very much for any info.

@Kat N. I purchase a lot on the Pittsburgh area and you have hit the nail on the head. Population growth here is non existent. Its a great place to live and invest but just like any real estate you have to sniff out the great deals and know when to strike and when to pass.

@Kat N. I invest in Beaver County, can't say I have any experience with mobile home parks though. I invest for cash flow and it's a great area for that regardless of what the population statistics say. 

@Kat N. You may want to talk to the mobile home park owners in the area since they exist there. When I first started out in mobile home investing, I was surprised how friendly some of the park owners were. Those "Mom and Pop" operations really had some interesting stories to tell. Good luck! 

Well You’ve got upmc hospital which is the biggest employer in Pennsylvania you’ve got growth in pocket areas and there’s projects all over town . It sure beats Cleveland in my opinion ! I invest in Erie but I wouldn’t be afraid to invest in Pittsburgh. Lots of renters no doubt ! My in laws are from cannonsburg so I’m near there fairly often  

@Kat N. - I know most investors take into account population growth however you're looking at an MSA with over 2 million people. I think it would be different if you were looking at a town of say 5k. Plus, with the infrastructure, universities, and large employers already in place, you never know when a renassaince might be just around the corner (e.g. - Amazon 2nd HQ).  Just my two cents. 

Pittsburgh has a lot going for it, unfortunately population growth is not one of them.  Between the local universities (CMU, Pitt, etc), large employers like UPMC, and investments by high tech companies like Uber, Facebook, Amazon there are a lot of positive things happening.  There is always a wild card of Amazon HQ2, although it is not likely for Pittsburgh.  

Like any major metro there are some downsides, like traffic, which was just rated as some of the worst in the nation.  

I do see this was posted in the mobile home forums.  In order to invest in mobile home parks you would need to head outside of the city to smaller outlying areas who could definitely be impacted by aging populations that are not being replaced.  

Pittsburgh has been flat for a while, but you should look at the demographic changes. The steel mills closed in the eighties and everyone under forty left. As a result, Pittsburgh has a large elderly population. The elderly population is decreasing and being replaced by young, educated population. The growth of this demographic is non-linear due to the rapid growth in medical, technology and supporting industries. Previously distressed neighborhoods are mind bogglingly quickly transforming into spectacular medical/technology hubs.

Hi @Kat N. it is like many areas. If you have a good property in a good area it is fairly easy to sell and move on from. 

Inventory is low so demand is high for each property. Absorption rate for most neighborhoods shows an very strong seller's market that doesn't seem to be shifting much to the buyer's advantage. 

Regarding Mobile Home Parks you will need to go to outside counties to find more of them. There aren't many in Allegheny County. Check on surrounding areas that are a bit less urban. Beaver, Westmoreland, Butler, and Washington. 

Mobile Home Parks aren't my niche or specialty, but I know they aren't incredibly plentiful in Allegheny County. 

There are a couple good mobile home parks in Butler and Beaver county. Overall, the population growth is correct. But at the same time there isn't a high decline. When most of the country was hurting from the bubble burst, we didn't get as much of that. We don't have as high peaks but we also don't have as low valleys either. As for investment in general, it is important to know what is going on for business and schools in the areas. There is some growth in the technology field and I do see some potential in Beaver county as well. Keeping an eye on whats going on is key!