Pittsburgh lacks affordable housing for everyone. Here are key resources for starting your search.

by Bill O’Toole, PublicSource

While Pittsburgh frequently ranks highly on listicles of America’s cheapest cities, many residents struggle to find and keep affordable homes amid rising rents, longstanding income inequality and the ongoing disruption of the pandemic.

Many observers pointed to frustrations over this issue as a motivator for Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey’s historic victory last year. Gainey has recently said he supports inclusionary zoning as a tool to increase the supply and distribution of low-cost housing in the city.

To help you understand and navigate affordable housing in Pittsburgh, we’ve compiled the following information and list of resources. 

State of the market

Though the city’s overall population has been essentially flat for the last decade, experts and residents say the housing market has been volatile. 

“The market in Pittsburgh has shifted rapidly,” said Lena Andrews, director of real estate development for local nonprofit ACTION-Housing. “We’ve seen a lot of neighborhoods where rents have increased really quickly, and wages haven’t increased at the same speed. So a lot of people who were able to find housing before have found themselves unable to do that.”

Rising housing costs are seen by many housing advocates as a significant factor in the decline of Pittsburgh’s Black population over the last decade

According to a study from ApartmentList.com, rental prices in the City of Pittsburgh increased by 8.85% from September 2020 through September 2021. The average rent for a studio apartment is around $1,424, while the average rent for a 3-bedroom apartment is $1,822.

2021 data from RENTCafe lists Carrick as the most affordable neighborhood in the city, with average rents of $695 per month. East Liberty, Morningside, Highland Park and Larimer were tied for most expensive, with average rents of $1,872.

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