The upward trend in residential home sales and rising prices in the Pittsburgh region that began in 2012 gained momentum last month with 2,324 homes sold for a total of $396 million, compared with 1,915 homes sold in April 2012 for $306 million.
A rising tide has lifted the housing market in all five counties in the region -- Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, Washington and Westmoreland counties -- but communities with higher-end homes appear to be benefiting more.
The average home price climbed 6.8 percent from $169,572 to $170,432, while the median rose 3.1 percent from $131,000 to $135,000.
"When we see average price climb at a faster rate than the median, it tells us that the higher-priced homes are selling more so than other market segments," said Daniel Murrer, vice president of RealSTATs, a South Side-based real estate information service.
Average home prices increased by the highest percentage -- 29 percent -- in Washington County, where prices increased to $223,646 last month from $159,396 in April 2012.
Beaver County's average price increased 11 percent to $131,460 from $117,147; Allegheny County home prices rose 4 percent to $166,530 from $159,971; Butler County saw a 1 percent jump to $222,493 from $211,531.
While Westmoreland County home prices fell to $136,278 last month from $149,809 in April 2012, the number of homes sold there increased as they did in all five counties.
Home sales in the Pittsburgh metro region had been on a steady downslide from 2004 to 2011, but came out of the trough in 2012 and the higher trajectory has continued this year.
Pittsburgh area homebuilders also sold more homes.
New home sales increased in four of the five counties, although Butler County saw a drop in new home sales from 22 to 16 over the last 12 months.
New home sales jumped from 68 to 88 in Allegheny County; 9 to 18 in Beaver County; 18 to 23 in Washington County; and 12 to 19 in Westmoreland County.
"I expect the trend to continue," Mr. Murrer said. "Higher home prices and home sales is all-around good for Pittsburgh when you consider all the jobs tied to the real estate industry. There are lots of ripple effects for white collar and blue collar workers."
Tim Grant: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1591.