Buying Your First Home in Pittsburgh, PA? Here’s How Much Money You Need to Make

It’s the second-lowest amount in the country.

Pittsburgh, PA, is known for its industrial history, natural beauty, and unique architecture. In addition to being an affordable and unique place to live, Pittsburgh is also home to a competitive real estate market that’s seen many changes over the past few years. 

For many, buying a home in Pittsburgh is a dream come true, but it’s also important to know how it will impact your finances. From down payments to monthly mortgage payments, there’s a lot to understand before buying your first home 

So whether you already live in the Steel City or are looking to relocate to the area, here’s a breakdown of the income you’ll need to purchase your first home in Pittsburgh.

Check out our original report for a detailed nationwide analysis.

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How much income do you need to buy a starter home in Pittsburgh?

The median sale price of a starter home in Pittsburgh is $90,000. In order to afford this, first-time homebuyers in Pittsburgh should make $32,308 per year, down 0.8% from 2023. The median income in Pittsburgh is $79,964, meaning the typical resident can afford a starter home. 

Pittsburgh was the only major metropolitan area that saw a year-over-year decline in the income required to purchase a starter home. Additionally, Pittsburgh was the second-most affordable metro in the U.S. for first-time homebuyers, trailing only Detroit.

As expected, starter homes in Pittsburgh are more affordable than the average home (all price brackets combined; see methodology for details). In order to afford any median-priced home in the area, you’ll need to make $64,639 (as of October 2023). 

Nationwide, you need an income of $75,849 to afford a typical starter home, which costs an average of $240,000. The average U.S. household earns an estimated $84,072.

First-time homebuyers’ guide to the Pittsburgh housing market

Pittsburgh has experienced a relatively stable market over the past three years; prices haven’t risen above $275,000 or below $200,000. However, the region saw large price jumps in 2022 and 2023, similar to the rest of the U.S. Prices rose by 21% (to $270,000) from January to June 2022, and 26% (to $275,000) from January to July 2023. After each rise, prices fell back down. 

Even with some notable growth, Pittsburgh continues to be one of the most affordable places to buy a house in the U.S. However, prices are currently rising more quickly than anywhere else in the nation, jumping 22% in February. Low supply and an inflow of homebuyers searching for affordability are helping drive prices up, a trend that has been affecting most of the Rust Belt

If you’re looking to move to Pittsburgh, the area is home to plenty of amenities and attractions throughout its diverse neighborhoods. PNC Park, the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, and Mount Washington are some of the most well known, offering beauty and enrichment for people of all ages.

Some popular neighborhoods in Pittsburgh include Bloomfield, Greenfield, and Morningside.

What does a typical down payment look like for a starter home in Pittsburgh?

Here are some common down payment amounts for a typical $90,000 starter home in Pittsburgh:

Down payment percentage Down payment amount
3% down payment $2,700
3.5% down payment $3,150
5% down payment $4,500
10% down payment $9,000
15% down payment $13,500
20% down payment $18,000

Down payments can range from 0% to 100% of the total house price, depending on your budget, loan type, and long-term priorities. While experts have historically recommended budgeting for a 20% down payment, the increasing cost of homes and continued sluggish wage increases has led to a 15% down payment becoming more common. 

Some loan types allow for lower down payment amounts. For example, a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan requires just 3.5% down, while the lowest possible down payment for a conventional loan is 3%. These amounts typically depend on your credit scores, so buyers with higher credit scores may qualify for lower down payments.

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What is the typical mortgage payment for a starter home in Pittsburgh?

The typical monthly mortgage payment for a starter home in Pittsburgh is $808. This assumes you put 3.5% down and have around a 7% interest rate.

If this payment sounds too high, renting an apartment in Pittsburgh likely won’t be any more affordable. The median rent price is $1,400, nearly double the typical mortgage payment. You can also use an affordability calculator to see what you can afford based on your income and down payment.

What should you do next?

If you’re in the market for your first home in Pittsburgh, it’s important to understand how much house you can afford. Take your annual income, credit score, the current mortgage rates, and local market trends to make a decision that works best for you.

From there, a Pittsburgh agent can help you navigate the entire home buying process and provide valuable local expertise. To learn more about how to buy a home, check out Redfin’s First-Time Homebuyer’s Guide.


Redfin divides all U.S. properties into five buckets based on Redfin Estimates of homes’ market values. There are three equal-sized tiers, as well as tiers for the bottom 5% and top 5% of the market. Redfin defines “starter homes” as homes whose sale price fell into the 5th-35th percentile of the Redfin Estimate tier. 

We calculated the annual income needed to afford a starter home by assuming a buyer spends no more than 30% of their income on housing payments. Housing payments are calculated assuming the buyer made a 3.5% down payment and also take a month’s median sale price and average mortgage-interest rate into account. 

The national income data is adjusted for inflation using the Consumer Price Index. 2024 income is estimated based on projections from the U.S. Census Bureau’s (ACS) 2022 median household income using the 12-month moving average nominal wage growth rate. The rate was compiled from the Current Population Survey and reported by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

We assume housing payments include the mortgage principal, interest, property taxes, homeowners insurance, and mortgage insurance (when applicable).

All data sourced February 2024 unless otherwise stated.

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