The biggest thing that pertains to your situation is that people here are SAVERS. Even during the best times in real estate buyers were putting large amounts of money down on their homes. This helps make sure they have equity, as well as making sure the home is affordable to live in.
The other half of this is that townhomes are much more popular here because they are an affordable option for first time buyers, buyers looking to move up or down, and those â€œright-sizingâ€ after retirement. The lower price of a townhome means that people donâ€™t have to save as long for their down payment, and they can own a home sooner so they stop wasting money on rent. This keeps the market for townhomes â€“ especially on the newer end â€“ in great demand locally.
We are very fortunate here in Pittsburgh and the surrounding area. We never saw an excessive increase in property values as did many of the areas across the country that are now suffering under the weight of the recession. Also, the jobs in Higher Education,Construction and Medical sectors continue to see growth here, and as a result they add to the stronger than average market. Articles are frequently published about Pittsburgh and its strength in this difficult economic time, and if you visit my blog at erinmarton.blogspot.com, you can read the most recent published in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette this past Sunday.
As for purchasing a Townhome vs. a Single Family home, since you are planning to make this a part time residence I would suggest finding something with as little maintenance as possible. You may even want to consider a condominium, which you may find a very convenient option for you. This way thing like yard maintenance and other issues are off the table, and with a condo, you have the security of knowing that your neighbors can keep an eye on things for you while you are away. Of course, most condos and townhomes include a monthly maintenance fee for that convenience, so you will want to do the math to see if the numbers make sense to you. Different communities will have different fees, and after you have negotiated an acceptable offer, you will be provided with a copy of the Homeowners Association or Condominium documents, which will include a budget for the Association. That way, you are able to see where your monthly fees are going!
I hope this helps, and please let me know if I can answer any other questions for you!