Property Investment in Pittsburgh, PA

10 Replies

Hello! This is my first post on BP and I am so glad to have found a place to ask all of my RE questions and connect with those who share a similar interest. I am fairly new to RE but have had a long time interest in purchasing property, specifically rentals. I have come across the city of Pittsburgh as a great city for investment. I truthfully have never been but will be visiting on August for a half work half play trip to check it out. I would love to hear from some Pittsburgh natives or those just familiar with the city and it's market! Thoughts on owning rentals in Pitt? What have been your experiences on RE investment in Pittsburgh and surrounding areas? 

Been to Pitt several times, but I can't provide much insight. However if you are looking for rentals, you will be very interested in what kind of rent one of your units might bring in. Check out for a quick temperature of the rental market in the area of your choice.

My goals is for one months gross rent to equal 2% of the purchase price for the property. Not the easiest thing to find, but depending on how utilities are paid etc. some folks have success with deals that are as little as 1%.

I'd rather see you buy a deal in Pittsburgh that cashflows $50/door with management in place, than one in San Diego that maybe breaks even and requires hours of personal management each month to make the numbers work

@David Hildebrandt I love that formula you use! that makes perfect sense and I will keep that in mind when shopping around. I will use this site to check rental prices in the areas I am looking in. Thank you for your help!

@Dick Stevens I did not mention that I do plan on moving to the area but regardless I will be hiring a property management company as opposed to acting as a landlord. I currently live in San Diego and it is just not feasible to purchase property at this time here or in any surrounding area. Have you had experience with rental properties in cities that you did not reside? 

Pittsburgh is a very strong cash flow market.  Depending on your price range, cash flow requirements, etc I could point you to a few different areas to check out.  Our property management company also manages for other investors, some local and some out of state.  If you want to talk let me know.

@Savannah Lewison welcome to BP! There is a wealth of knowledge here in the forums and in its members.

Also originally from San Diego, I've been researching OOS markets and Pittsburgh is one of the top of my list. My decision isn't final yet, but it could very well be Pitt, and I'll be moving there too. (Get ready for the snow ;) ) Happy to share what else I learn when/if I move there, and maybe do some deals together in the future!


Originally posted by @Savannah Lewison :

@David Hildebrandt I agree and here in CA as you know, it's very common for people to own properties in other states at the margins are much better. I know that many people have been successful with this without residing in the cities they own in. 

There are various sources that track ROI for buy n hold investments. I will refer you to Case-Shiller as one reference. Do you know what it shows?

Historically no Midwest city has produced a better ROI than San Diego. So depending on what you count as margins, there typically is not a better location than San Diego in another state. Historically verifiable.

You know what else you can find out by looking at such data. The returns on the average San Diego SFR in the last 5 years exceeds the return via cash flow of the average Midwest property for the last 50 years.

If you plan on moving, I recommend all newbies start local.  I typically recommend they start self managed because of the accelerated learning that can occur self managing a place as well as the control it offers the new RE investor.  Seems like you already have decided to use a PM; my belief is this will slow down your education process.

Good luck where ever you choose to invest.