Pittsburgh area home prices *rise* in first quarter of 2011!

Not to keep beating a dead horse but…again and again Pittsburgh proves itself to be a great place to buy a home. As everyone knows, real estate prices in most of the U.S. have been suffering in recent years. Nationwide, home prices are down and sales are sluggish. But according to RealSTATS, the first quarter of 2011 found the average home price in the Pittsburgh area up 3.5%, to $148,859! Compare that to a 3.6% drop in the average home price during the same period nationwide.

Hopefully the fact that Pittsburgh has not only weathered the real estate market “burst” but improved during a time when other cities are suffering will assure current home owners that their investments are secure and encourage potential home buyers that this is a great time to enter the real estate market.

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Possibly Fun Activity For New Home Buyer

Received this notice and thought I would pass it on in case there are any interested potential new home buyers out there! This could be a fun opportunity if you are considering buying your first home:

MY FIRST PLACE, HGTV’s hit series, is coming back for a tenth season and we’re looking for first-time homebuyers (and their agents!) in the Pittsburgh area RIGHT NOW!

We are looking for fun, high-energy people who are just starting the home-buying process for their first place and would like to share their story with HGTV! Our goal is to capture all the trials and tribulations of looking for, bidding on and buying your first place.

Taping takes place this spring. Ideal candidates will be enthusiastic buyers with a unique story to tell and a desire to share their experiences! Singles, couples and families are all invited to apply!

Email or call me for an application!

Marybeth Brush
HGTV’s – My First Place Pittsburgh, Pa
(o) 303-872-8575
mbrush [at] highnoontv [dot] com


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Because The Weather Here Is Not As Bad As You Imagine

I have a confession to make which is that I really do not like sunny weather! Most people recoil in shock and horror when they hear this but I can’t help it, it’s true. I like a day at the beach as much as the next person, but in general, bright sun hurts my eyes. I am not super into rain, but will take some nice clouds any day of the week. Similarly, I am not into being super hot. I actually like winter! I like feeling cozy and warm in my apartment, watching the snow fall down outside.

When I moved to Pittsburgh I was excited for what I imagined to be a gray, overcast city with 11 month winters. I am here to tell you that…this is not the case. The truth is that the weather here is really quite moderate and for the most part, quite lovely. There are many, many, beautiful sunny days. Summer days are hot and sunny and perfect for those who wish to enjoy swimming in one of Pittsburgh’s many public pools, boating on one of its three rivers, or hiking in one of its numerous, shady recreation areas. While a typical winter does involve snow, it’s really not that bad. For the most part, the city is prepared for snow and life just goes on. And the quantity is not as much as you might think. Did you know that the 2010-2011 snowfall total for New York City is 57.7″, compared to just 40.8″ for Pittsburgh (as of 2/21/2011)?

Of course I was personally disappointed to find myself in such an unexpectedly lovely climate. But if you are contemplating a move to Pittsburgh and are hesitant about the weather, well…my loss is your gain.

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Mellon Arena Should Not Be Lost

As some of you may know, one of the most high profile Pittsburgh real estate conundrums in recent years has to do with the fate of Mellon Arena, a beloved local icon since 1961 and home of the Pittsburgh Penguins since 1967. That’s a long time. The arena is a unique piece of architecture, different from all other sports complexes. From the Mellon Arena website:

The Mellon Arena is famous for its revolutionary architectural design which features the largest retractable, stainless steel dome roof in the world–170,000 total square feet and 2,950 tons of Pittsburgh steel. The roof, which has no interior supports, is divided radially into eight leaves and is supported by a huge cantilever arm that arches 260 feet.

That dome is a part of Pittsburgh, a landmark, instantly recognizable as you approach downtown Pittsburgh by car or foot or as you gaze at it from above. Everyone seems to agree that the brand new Consol Energy Center, finished in 2010 and meant to replace the aging arena, is a fantastic, amazing new home for the Pens, but it certainly does not seem as special as Mellon Arena did.

Now that the new home of the Pens is complete and ready to go a debate has raged about what to do with “the Igloo”, as it is affectionately called. One party wants to tear it down, to move on, to make way for progress. The other wants to preserve the arena, to honor it for what it was. It seems that the former party might win and that Mellon Arena might go the way of the wrecking ball.

The folks over at the Pensblog have unearthed a touching idea that might serve as a compromise. The Consol Energy Center stands right across the street from Mellon Arena. Were Mellon Arena to remain upright, it would be visible from one of the new venue’s large picture windows. The suggestion is to etch an outline of Mellon Arena in the picture window, so that even when it’s gone, the Igloo will still be there, visible to all.

We think this is a great idea. It would go a long way towards making the Consol Energy Center more than just a geat venue – it would help to make it special. Like the Igloo was. We hope this idea will be considered by those in charge.

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Because You’re Going to Want to Be Here the Next Time Something Happens Here For the First Time

There was a time when I didn’t know much about the city of Pittsburgh. I assumed it was just a place, like anywhere else, and that few exceptional things had ever happened here. But as time passed and the city grew on me and started to make its charm known, I learned with surprise and delight that in fact, Pittsburgh has been the site of an unusually high number of “firsts”.

A lot of people know that Pittsburgh is currently a major player in the field of medicine. Biomedical technology is a major industry and The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center is the city’s largest employer. But did you know that the first simultaneous heart, liver and kidney transplant was performed at Pittsburgh’s Presbyterian-University Hospital in 1989? And back in 1953, the Polio vaccine was developed here by Dr. Jonas Salk, a researcher and professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Both of these things were obviously major accomplishments, but they aren’t the only things Pittsburgh has given the world – not by any means.

The first pull tab was put on a can here in 1962 by Iron City Brewery. In fact, for many years pull tabs could only be found in the Pittsburgh region. Around 1892, a Pittsburgher invented the Ferris Wheel. The Banana Split, Zippo Lighter, and Big Mac all made their first appearances in and around Pittsburgh. The first bingo game was played here in the 1920s, the first U.S. commercial radio station appeared early in that same decade, and the first gas station opened its doors in 1913, right on Baum Boulevard. Forbes Field was the nation’s first baseball stadium. And in a move that is obviously near and dear to all of our hearts, the emoticon was born here in 1982 – the brain child of a Carnegie Mellon University computer scientist :)

The list of things that were invented or first occurred in Pittsburgh goes on and on. I have often wondered why this might be. Does Pittsburgh produce or attract a disproportionate number of creative people? Is there something about the environment here that encourages people to come up with novel ideas? Perhaps the city and people just have a pioneering spirit. Regardless, Pittsburgh is a good place to be because of its rich and interesting history but also because when the next big thing is invented here, the locals will all have a front row seat.

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