Pittsburgh seems to be moving to the beat of a different drummer recently. I’ve frequently seen the comment that Pittsburgh’s real estate market didn’t have the excesses of other markets and so wasn’t experiencing the same downturn in the housing market. If that’s true, then the current housing created nationwide economic slowdown might not have the same effect in Pittsburgh as it would in other harder hit locations. While there’s no doubt that the economic effects of the nationwide banking crisis and employment slowdown have had their effects on the Pittsburgh region, a few recent articles have told a much different story about the economy in Pittsburgh compared to that of the nation:
- Pittsburgh has had five consecutive months of job growth, making employment in the seven county Pittsburgh region at its highest since 2001.
- There’s also more demand for hotels in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh was one of only 11 out of the 100 largest US cities to have had hotel occupancy rates increase so far this year. And communities are putting in additional efforts to take advantage of this by pointing visitors toward shopping and other areas of local interest.
- Financial institutions are expanding in the Pittsburgh region - as banks continue to open up new branches in the area.
Longtime readers of Pittsburgh Homes Daily will remember this series of articles by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about how Charlotte is booming because of its development as a center for banking. If Charlotte was dependent on banks for its boom, then it’s worth looking at the charts of their banking giants to see how the city is doing. Since that 2006 article, the stock of Wachovia Bank has declined from ~ $55 to ~ $15 and Bank of America has declined from ~ $52 to ~ $28.
Of course, Harold Miller pointed out in an above article that Pittsburgh generally takes longer to feel the effects of a nationwide downturn than other cities - so it is possible that the worst is yet to come in Pittsburgh. But as of right now, Pittsburgh isn’t acting like a region with a declining population and image problem.