The Pittsburgh housing market has changed drastically over the past ten years. The city is losing its homeownership base. Reflective of a national trend, Pittsburgh has flipped from 54% homeowner / 46% renter to 48% homeowner / 52% renter. Yet Pittsburgh’s rental market is drastically uneven.
Housing is defined as affordable when it does not exceed 30% of income. Affordable housing for those below the area median income (AMI) is lacking in the region. Recent market needs assessment data shows that the City of Pittsburgh lacks over 15,000 affordable units at <50% AMI, with market equilibrium at 80% AMI. Census data shows an additional need of almost 30,000 units across Allegheny County. What’s more, Pittsburgh is at risk of losing what affordable housing it has: over 1,700 existing income restricted units are at risk of expiring before 2020 if no intervention to extend their timelines takes place.
While over 6,000 market rate rental units have been built in the last 3-5 years, and another 7,500 are in the development pipeline for the next 36 months (these projects are at all stages from design to under construction), there are less than 1,500 affordable units which have been or will be produced or preserved in that same time.
The bulk of the new construction and market pressure is concentrated in 10% of the city’s 90 neighborhoods, while the rest of the city sits and waits. Although these neighborhoods have a significant amount of deteriorating housing stock (nearly 10,000 units) which could potentially be transitioned into owner or renter affordable housing, the focus has primarily been on creating new.
This issue is so pressing that over the past months, the Mayoral-appointed Affordable Housing Task Force (AHTF) was created and charged with finding city-wide solutions to the challenge facing Pittsburgh.
PCRG has partnered with the AHTF as well as other organizations like the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania to address the need for more affordable housing in the region. Our programs in the area of Affordable Housing include the Vacant Property Working Group, the CARL Program, and our annual report on the state of mortgage lending in the city. You can also visit the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania website for more information about the Building Inclusive Communities Work Group and to read more about the topic of affordable housing in Pittsburgh and the region.