Sunday, August 30, 2009

Cheap Urban Vista As Urban Economic Indicator

Room with a view should come at a steep price, correct? Pittsburgh is bursting at the seams with some of the greatest urban vistas in the United States, perhaps the world. The dramatic topography is a wonderful setting for a city. However, the most famous view of the Golden Triangle is indicative of a lousy economy:

But that dilapidated house—with fenestration clearly intended to absorb the spectacle of the Pittsburgh skyline—burns in my memory. Even in 2006 that would not have happened in a city with a robust economy; it would have never happened, and Mount Washington wouldn’t remain sleepy, geriatric, and lower middle class.

The real estate development this blogger is looking for is further up the Mon along the South Side Slopes. What does a market look like that has a glut of properties with a great view? Pittsburgh. Simply put, such gorgeous sight lines aren't at a premium.

More dear is an Oakland location near CMU and Pitt. But I wouldn't expect an outsider to know any of the above. I'm not sure most locals understand what is going on in their city. The real estate market in Pittsburgh is one of the most robust in the entire country, at least right now. Regardless, there are other reasons why Mt. Washington doesn't look like Queen Anne Hill in Seattle. A moribund economy is a factor, but the city is full of inexpensive spectacular views.


Robert Pontzer said...

The vacant house he photographed was replaced by a condo building this year... so there goes that example... though Grandview is quite underutilized. His argument is convenient... and could seem so obvious... but the misguided narrative of "eternal economic stagnation" is off the mark... and certainly comes into conflict with dramatic real estate appreciation taking place in the Slopes, South Side, Lawrenceville and elsewhere in the urban core.

JRoth said...

Yes, lots of appreciation around town, just not in the area where the blogger thinks it should be.

My old girlfriend always said, "views in Pittsburgh are cheap." The Hill District being the definitive example.

Tom Mc said...

"Capital goes where it's welcome and stays where it's well treated." Walter Wriston. Capital also follows ambition. Ambition is concentrated where real estate is appreciating.