The Yin and Yang of housing markets in Pittsburgh
The standard metric these days for tracking the national housing miasma is the Case-Shiller Index. That index for the record tracks real estate prices not the number of transactions. Our problem is that it covers 20 regions across the country, but does not include Pittsburgh. You can see their latest data through April is here. What is well commented on elsewhere is just how bad that index is doing in all markets. Their April over April numbers show housing price declines in all 20 Case-Shiller markets, some by almost 27% in just the last year. So if Pittsburgh is having a 4.7% increase while most everyone else is having double digit declines it makes you wonder a bit why the headline emphasizes that the number of transactions is down and not just how unique it is for prices to be going up as they are here. I am sure there are a few other regions showing price appreciation, places like Houston for example. But there is no big oil industry here benefiting from higher energy prices. That makes continuing housing appreciation that much more interesting. You can't chalk it up to any one anomalous reason to explain why housing prices are going up here while dropping through the basement most everywhere else.
So really bad practice and something I would only do on a blog.. but mixing time periods and data sources in a way that I ought not to... if you graph the April over April Case Shiller data and add in the May over May data being reported locally you get this picture.
It's one thing to just say that things are not as bad here as elsewhere, it's another thing entirely to show that housing prices are still moving respectably in the opposite direction of most other regions. Depends on how you measure it, but I think that +4.7% actually represents a slight acceleration in local housing prices over the last couple of years which just makes the headline of the continuing slump here even odder.