Adam, Home Buyer in Southside Flats, Pit...

Overpriced housing in White Oak versus North Huntingdon / Irwin area?

Asked by Adam, Southside Flats, Pittsburgh, PA Fri Mar 14, 2008

I'm single and looking to buy a home in the White Oak / N. Huntingdon area in the range of $100 - $150k. To me the writing is on the wall that the North Huntingdon / Irwin area would be much more desirable for several reasons - the two major ones being lower taxes (Westmoreland county) and the school district (Norwin vs McKeesport). Even with those two things I see old homes in White Oak going for $140,000 that aren't that big and don't have much to offer. In fact there is one that fits that model off of Center St Ext and it doesn't even have a paved driveway! Compare that to homes off of Ridge Road (around $130,000) and even Markvue Manor ($140,000 - $160,000). Once you go further east (towards Kerber) you can find houses even cheaper ($120,000 - $130,000) for 4/3 bedroom, 2 bath. I'm from McKeesport and have friends in White Oak but looking 10-15 years down the road I see North Huntingdon being much more desirable than White Oak. Are my observations correct?

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Kim Stawicki, Agent, Irwin, PA
Thu Apr 24, 2008

As an agent that services both areas, I would have to say that many people feel as you do. However, you should purchase in the area that best fits your needs, both now and looking towards the future. Once you decide what area is best for your lifestyle, you can start to narrow down your choices and analyze value.

It sounds like you are looking at the market pretty closely to evaluate what is available. A good buyer's agent, as part of their services, will also look at recent comparable sales, not just homes for sale. This is a better indicator of what a particular home is worth, not the asking price. A home that has been for sale for an extended length of time is most likely priced too high for the market...those that are priced right are gone before the casual buyer gets to them. That said, though, value is still in the eyes of the buyer that finds the perfect house to fit their needs.

If you would like some assistance, feel free to contact me. As I mentioned, I do service both areas and am located in North Huntingdon.
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Mim Heisey, , Shippensburg, PA
Sat Mar 15, 2008
Your observations are correct, from your perspective. I have been in the real estate market for over 20 years, and have seen that what one buyer falls in love with, another buyer sees little attraction in. The bottom line on what a property or even a neighborhhod are "worth" is what a given buyer and seller are willing to settle on. That is where supply and demand and the free market system come into play.

Your observations are your observations , and the more people that agree with you and choose to purchase in that community, the more property values will go up there. Taxes are certainly a financial consideration. Quality of Schools is more important to some than to others, and their preferences on which district is best may be opposite to yours. Some people want elbow room and open space around them, while others value sidewalks for walking the dog, community parks and intown convenience. For commuters, proximity to the workplace will probably have increasing importance if/as gas prices rise, and those that are in nice neighborhoods closer to major employers may move up in value.

A potential buyer (you) goes shopping for a house. After looking at properties that are on the market buyer decides which of several properties are more desirable (for what ever combination of reasons) , and makes an offer to purchase. If the seller is willing to accept that offer, a contract is made and there is a new 'fair-market-value' established for that type of property in that location.
One final thing to consider: 10-15 years is a long time to forcast the future value of one neighborhood over another. My advice: if you are planning to live in a house for a number of years (10-15?) choose one that you and your family will enjoy living in, that best suits your \needs now and for the foreseeable future, and plan to make it a better neighborhood than it was when you bought. Then everybody wins.
Happy Hunting
Hope that helps.
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