I am going to talk today about a neighborhood that I see as often overlooked, and a prime opportunity, for investment and redevelopment in the Pittsburgh area - Wilkinsburg. For those who don't believe that, let me present a few interesting facts about Wilkinsburg that might change your mind.
1. Affordability - As east end neighborhoods continue to see significant price increases, the pressure for affordable housing transfers to ajacent communities, one of which is Wilkinsburg. Like several other neighborhoods that have seen their renissance, Wilkinsburg has started to become home for artists and young families looking for inexpensive places to put down roots and invest in building a community. These early adopters have already found what others are just starting to see. (NextPittsburgh: 40 artists, 10 sites, 1 day, 1 town: it's Wilkinsburg's Dream City Art, April 7, 2015)
2. Wealth of amazing home to be renewed - The architecture in Wilkinsburg is nothing short of spectacular. Unlike some other area of the city where the small, mill worker homes are being renovated, but still can't break free of their original confines of narrow lots and row homes, the ones in Wilkinsburg are grand. Architectural masterpieces from Scheibler, an actual castle on Singer Place and some of the city's finest Victorian architecture sit waiting to be uncovered. If you ever had dreams of living in a grand home, Wilkinsburg can offer that for a fraction of the cost of other areas. Recently the Vacant Homes tour took visitors and potential buyers on a tour of amazing homes that are just waiting for someone to breath new life into them. You can find more information on the homes here and the county's Vacant Property Recovery Program can help you find properties that can be purchased for a small amount.
3. Location, Location, Location - Wilkinsburg sits at the gateway to Pittsburgh's booming east end while Penn Avenue serves as the connector to the Parkway East and PA Turnpike. This connector sees thousands of cars a day, meaning the chance for businesses to benefit from drive-by traffic is high. Few other business districts in the metro area can boast of the amount of opportunity that passes by each day.
4. Walkable Neighborhood - The consolidated, walkable business district on Penn Avenue gives way to a compact, sidewalked neighborhood where kids walk to school, shops are within walking distance of the homes and strong public transit presence makes this area act more like a small town, than a big city. This is the exact configuration "traditional neighborhood development" advocates have been talking about for years, it's already in place in Wilkinsburg.
5. Reasonable Taxes - Yep, you read that right. The first thing people always want to say about Wilkinsburg is the taxes are high. While it is true that the milage is high in Wilkinsburg, the prices and assessed values are low, so the actual tax bill that residents pay is lower than you might think. A quick survey of recently sold 4 bedroom / 2 bathroom homes of similar style in Wilkinsburg, Pittsburgh and Edgewood showed two homes in Wilkinsburg with tax bills of $5,165 and $8,572, in Pittsburgh with tax bills of $8,076 and $9,807 and Edgewood with tax bills of $5,163 and $6,227. While it is true that as values rise in Wilkinsburg the potential for higher tax bills is possible, rising values also give the opportunity for a reset to levels similar to the surrounding neighborhoods.
If you are looking for investment opportunities or a place to call home, Wilkinsburg offers both for those with vision. I have two properties available now, 1302 Singer Place, a grand 5+ bedroom home tucked away in the treetops for only $80,000 (you can see the video of the house here) and the retired Johnston School, a 45,000 sq foot property that sits at the intersection of Penn and the Parkway East. Give me a call if you would like to discuss either of them or other opportunities in this community.
You can find more information at the Wilkinsburg CDC
And I'm not the only one who thinks Wilkinsburg is on the cusp of greatness.
Buying or Selling a home in Pittsburgh? Call Christa Ross from RE/MAX Select Realty, at 724-933-6300 x214 (office) or 724-309-1758 (direct) or visit my website at www.bestpittsburghhomes.com.