March 2020

Pennsylvania Housing Market Vitality



Pennsylvania metro area house prices are forecasted to underperform the national market. Current local conditions support an estimated 4.7% increase in the next twelve months. Pennsylvania’s housing market vitality, based on the twenty one metro housing markets which comprise it, is weaker than that of the overall U.S. and currently ranks the state as forty third in the nation. Recent changes in local conditions suggest the possibility of moderation in short-term performance.

Housing Market Vitality

Housing Market Vitality summarizes the impact of economic conditions on future house prices. A value of 100 corresponds to conditions supporting current prices; values less than 100 correspond to a dampening effect; and values greater than 100 indicate a positive effect on house prices.  A housing market vitality value can be interpreted as a forecasted growth rate. Hence, a reading of 105.8 can be interpreted as a forecasted 5.8% annualized increase in house prices.

Pennsylvania Metro Housing Markets

Pennsylvania is comprised of twenty one metro housing markets that account for nearly 88% of the state’s population. The markets are unique in their demographics and local economies and exhibit trends that are distinct from the national or state narrative. Each metro market presents its own unique opportunity.

Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ Underperform 326
Altoona, PA Outperform 240
Erie, PA Underperform 248
Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA Underperform 325
Johnstown, PA Underperform 396
Lancaster, PA Track 116
Lebanon, PA Outperform 109
Montgomery County-Bucks County-Chester County, PA Underperform 384
Newark, NJ-PA Underperform 308
Philadelphia, PA Underperform 251
Pittsburgh, PA Underperform 114
Reading, PA Outperform 252
Scranton–Wilkes-Barre–Hazleton, PA Underperform 375
State College, PA Outperform 8
Williamsport, PA Underperform 193
York-Hanover, PA Outperform 264
Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, OH-PA Track 327
Bloomsburg-Berwick, PA Underperform 392
Chambersburg-Waynesboro, PA Underperform 343
East Stroudsburg, PA Underperform 307
Gettysburg, PA Underperform 381

Industry Specialization

Pennsylvania’s state economy is specialized in Edu Health svcs and Manufacturing. Mining, Construction, and Information industry sectors are less important to the state economy compared to the national economy.

Industry specialization helps explain the differing impact of industry trends on local economies in contrast to industry composition which describes the structure of the economy. A Specialization Index value greater than 100 corresponds to the sector having a greater share of the state economy than it does of the national economy. Sectors with a Specialization Index greater than 120 characterize the local economy.


Compared to the U.S., there is a lower incidence of poverty amongst Keystone State residents and they have greater purchasing power. There are more high school graduates and a smaller proportion of the population is college educated. Pennsylvania’s population is comparatively less diverse than the overall U.S. population.

A Demographics Index value greater than 100 corresponds to the factor being more intense in the state versus the national average. Characteristics of the local population is a longer-term factor that influences the housing market.