A shared Vision for East Allegheny July 1, 2007


Planning Area- Housing Trends



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Planning Area- Housing Trends

This section will examine several apparent housing trends within the planning area, primarily over the past ten to fifteen years and will focus on tenure and residential building and demolition activity.



Tenure

As cited in the previous sections concerning multi-family units and tenure, several trends are apparent.




  • The increase in rented apartment or duplex units in East McKeesport and Wall Boroughs appears to have resulted from the conversion of single-family detached structures to multiple unit buildings. While the number of rented apartment or duplex units from 1990- 2000 has increased, no notable new construction of any such buildings occurred.




  • Although the number of rented single-family detached units remains relatively low in North Versailles, the 38% increase in such units from 1990-2000 was substantial. If this trend continues, North Versailles will surpass the Boroughs in terms of the percentage of its single family housing stock that is rented.




  • The amount of occupied or rented apartments (units in buildings housing three or more units) has decreased, particularly in North Versailles; while the percentage of rental units themselves have increased or remained stable. This signals a shift of rental units from apartments to single family homes and duplexes.


Residential Building Activity




Table 15: North Versailles- Single Family Homes Constructed





North Versailles- Single Family Homes Constructed

Year

Homes

2000

3

2001

5

2002

6

2003

14

The majority of discussion concerning new construction will focus on North Versailles Township. Over the past several years, the township has experienced several new housing starts on vacant lots throughout the township, many of which are located within existing neighborhoods. This type of healthy development is termed “infill development” as it utilizes vacant areas with existing infrastructure and fills in underdeveloped or blighted areas throughout the township. The township has experienced new development along Howell Drive. Construction within this plan accounts for two of the housing starts experienced in 2002 and ten of those constructed in 2003. The US Census notes approximately 54 single-family units were constructed in North Versailles between 1990 and 2000, representing an average of five or six units per year, which has held constant through 2003.



Demolition and Conversion

Table 16: Demolition and Conversion of Single Family Homes


Municipality

Total Single Family Units 2000:

Constructed 1990-March, 2000

2000 Total (after homes constructed)

1990 Total

Difference

Estimated Single-Family Homes Lost

East McKeesport

1,070

0

759

804

-45

45

North Versailles

4,927

54

3,629

3,611

18

36

Wall

324

2

238

258

-20

22






















The preceding table estimates the number of single-family homes, both detached and attached, that were lost between 1990 and 2000. While a percentage of these homes may have been converted to duplex or apartment buildings, examination of preceding census data cited in this section illustrates such conversions represent a small minority of single family homes lost in each of the municipalities. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume the majority of single-family homes lost were simply demolished. The boroughs, possessing an older housing stock, show the greatest rate of single family housing loss. Such a trend, if continuing, could pose a significant threat to the current character of the Boroughs and their residential neighborhoods. The seemingly high number of single-family homes lost in East McKeesport is, however, somewhat misleading. Approximately one dozen homes were demolished for the construction of the Eckerd Drug Store. Also, the Census indicates that at least four single-family homes were converted to duplexes. The change in occupied single-family home is also offset by changes in the number of vacant single-family structures.




Table 17: North Versailles- Single Family Homes Demolished


North Versailles- Single Family Homes Demolished

Year

Homes

2000

15

2001

5

2002

2

2003

4



Table 18: Owner Occupied Housing Units with a Mortgage


 

Owner Occupied Housing Units with a Mortgage



Total:

Mortgaged

 

East McKeesport

642

330

51%

North Versailles

3,293

1,695

51%

Wall

186

78

42%

The preceding table outlines the estimated number of owner-occupied housing units with a mortgage. Less than half of the owner-occupied units in Wall Borough have an outstanding mortgage. Such a rate may indicate a certain level of stability. However, Borough officials have observed that homes owned by elderly residents without a mortgage are often retained and rented out by their heirs who effectively act as “absentee landlords.”



Table 19: Transience


 

Total Residents in Occupied Households- 2000

Lived in Same House in 1995

Percent

Lived in Different House in 1995

Percent

East McKeesport

2,247

1,465

65%

782

35%

North Versailles

10,516

7,422

71%

3,094

29%

Wall

712

478

67%

234

33%

The preceding table illustrates the percentage of homes that changed occupants between 1995 and 2000. East McKeesport shows the highest percentage of occupancy changes, which is consistent with its level of property sales through the West-Penn Multi-list. Considering its low level of apartment-type units, it can be assumed that a comparatively higher percentage of East McKeesport Borough’s single family housing stock is transferring ownership. However, it appears that most of Wall’s occupancy changes relate to rental units.




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