How Crime Rates Affect the Real Estate Market

Many factors affect a potential homeowner’s decision to buy a house, but one of the most important is safety. Neighborhoods with low crime rate are much more attractive than those with a higher tendency for crime.

Crime and the Real Estate Market

Because housing markets fluctuate due to a plethora of different factors, it is difficult to pinpoint the exact role of crime rate in the overall health of a market. However, there is one common thread that was discovered in a 2010 study by researchers at Florida State University. They found that robbery and aggravated assault most highly influenced housing values across different neighborhoods. Another study from the University of Troy found that an area’s home prices fell 0.25% for every 1% increase in violent crime.

Another interesting trend is that sometimes crime rate in one city can affect the real estate prices in another. For example, if City A slashes their police force in half and crime rates rise, neighboring City B may experience a spike in home prices because of people moving to that city. This happened in California back in 2008.

Potential Homeowners


It’s not uncommon for homeowners to research an area’s crime rate before house hunting in that region. They would rather know in advance than be surprised after they move in. A history of high or rising crime rates may also take these areas off a homeowner’s option list entirely. When this becomes a pattern, it leads to the overall decrease in an area’s property value.

Pittsburgh Crime Rates

Unfortunately, Pittsburgh has one of the nation’s highest violent crime rates across all communities. In the entire state of Pennsylvania, you have a 1 in 316 chance of being a victim of a violent crime. In Pittsburgh, your chances jump to 1 in 126. Pittsburgh residents also have a 1 in 30 chance of becoming the victim of a property crime, such as burglary, theft or motor vehicle theft.

Crime Prevention Methods

When the residents of an area understand how crime affects their property values and other aspects of the community (such as business, school quality, etc.), they’re more invested in finding effective methods for crime prevention. Two common examples are neighborhood watch programs and after school programs to teach good habits from a young age. If you’re concerned about your neighborhood’s safety, get involved with the community to find solutions.


Renting Post-Recession

The fluctuations of the real estate market correlate to the national economy as a whole. The Great Recession has made this fact apparent due to its particularly close link to real estate. The economic downturn officially lasted from December 2007 to June 2009, kicked off by the burst of the housing bubble. The Recession affected millions of Americans regardless of their existing financial situation. Jobs were lost. Incomes froze and incomes dropped. Consumer spending decreased significantly. Houses lost value. Interest on some mortgages was variable, making monthly payments unaffordable. And, for those just starting out in their careers, priorities had to be separated by needs and wants. The changes that people had to make to survive through the economic downturn are now the new economic reality. At Jason Cohen Pittsburgh, we’ve seen owners turn to apartment residents and seen others reluctant to even enter the world of home buying. The Recession has changed the way many think about housing.

When it comes to homes, bigger is not always better. Large houses have many rooms that require expensive cooling and heating bills. These larger houses also tend to have proportionately larger yards that require maintenance, which eats away at a thin budget. The more that’s in a house means the more there is to repair, so large homes tend to have large price tags for maintenance as well. Many large homes are in the suburbs or rural areas, which allows solitude. However, solitude can feel like isolation when you have to cut spending.

Smaller living spaces are falling into favor with not only empty-nesting baby boomers, but also the younger generations. By moving to a more urban area, they cut the need for a car for every jaunt to grab a few groceries. Families that live in suburban areas spend about 24% of their budget on transportation. Compare this statistic to 12% for those living in urban areas with walk-able neighborhoods. Smaller living areas take less energy to heat. And, if the small space is drafty, it costs less to fix. Morning rush hour is much less stressful reading a book on the bus or getting a brisk walk in before sitting at a desk for 8 hours. Public transportation can also be cheaper than driving and paying to park.

While the suburbs have many great attributes, the cities and towns with a business district have many advantages in this new economy in addition to saving money. Being close to stores, entertainment, friends, and family can not only save money, but can add enjoyment. Cutting the car rides and more expensive bills in favor of a smaller, more convenient apartment has been a popular choice in this new economy.

The economy is recovering — slowly. The adjustments that many had made to survive during the Great Recession have become a part of daily life. These changes make sense economically and socially. Finding a great neighborhood in an affordable city, such as Pittsburgh, can help you enjoy life, save time, and save money. Jason Cohen Pittsburgh can help you find the perfect apartment that offers a full complement of nearby attractions without breaking the bank.