February 2020

Pennsylvania Housing Market Vitality



Pennsylvania metro area house prices are forecasted to outperform the national market. Current local conditions support an estimated 7.2% increase in the next twelve months. Pennsylvania’s housing market vitality, based on the twenty one metro housing markets which comprise it, is stronger than that of the overall U.S. and currently ranks the state as twenty ninth 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 298
Altoona, PA Outperform 165
Erie, PA Underperform 196
Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA Underperform 199
Johnstown, PA Underperform 360
Lancaster, PA Underperform 217
Lebanon, PA Outperform 37
Montgomery County-Bucks County-Chester County, PA Underperform 244
Newark, NJ-PA Outperform 192
Philadelphia, PA Underperform 162
Pittsburgh, PA Outperform 12
Reading, PA Track 141
Scranton–Wilkes-Barre–Hazleton, PA Underperform 250
State College, PA Outperform 5
Williamsport, PA Underperform 182
York-Hanover, PA Underperform 335
Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, OH-PA Underperform 390
Bloomsburg-Berwick, PA Underperform 255
Chambersburg-Waynesboro, PA Underperform 339
East Stroudsburg, PA Track 130
Gettysburg, PA Underperform 328

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.