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Key Indicators for Understanding Our Region

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What are housing conditions like in Pittsburgh?

by PittsburghTODAY

Pittsburgh housing


Whether they own or rent, 8 in 10 City of Pittsburgh residents describe the condition of their housing as good, very good or excellent, according to our Pittsburgh Regional Quality of Life Survey.

On the bottom end of the scale, more than 19 percent of city residents say their housing is in “fair” condition, while less than one-half of one percent describe their housing as poor.


City-reported data suggest beauty is in the eye of the beholder when it comes to housing conditions.

The city’s building condition survey assesses all structures, not just houses and apartments. However imprecise, it is an indicator of how the city views the condition of housing within its borders.

And the city’s perspective is much different than what residents reported their housing conditions to be in our survey.

The city rates the condition of nearly 90 percent of buildings as “average” and only 7 percent as “good/excellent.” Another 3.5 percent is rated “poor/derelict.” In addition, 12.8 percent of city housing is vacant, according to U.S. Census data. That is higher than vacancy rates in Allegheny County and across the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Housing conditions vary by neighborhood. Not surprisingly, poverty is a factor. In Homewood West, for example, 44 percent residents have incomes below the federal poverty line. Nearly 18 percent of the buildings in the neighborhood are considered by the city to be in poor/derelict condition and 22 percent of housing is vacant. Nearby in Regent Square, where the poverty rate is 1 percent, no buildings are rated in poor/derelict condition and less than 5 percent are vacant.

It should be noted that the city-reported data was collected two years prior to our survey. However, it is not likely that overall housing conditions changed significantly in two years.

Posted May 21, 2014