Why You Should “Fall” into Home Hunting in These Four Pittsburgh Communities

Autumn is a great time to check out the foliage, and the neighborhoods that accompany it.

PHOTO: SHUTTERSTOCK

With fall firmly upon us it’s a good time to spend weekends checking out the changing leaves, as well as all the fall festivals — and the houses around them. 

As much fun as online listings can be, nothing replaces those old-school house hunts where you take a drive, or a walk, by a potential home to see it in person. 

Buying a home that’s a good fit also has more to do with the living experience of your chosen community and less about square footage and open-concept floor plans. After all, what good is a drool-worthy dream home if you have to spend an hour commuting each way every day to get there — or if there are no sidewalks? 

Here’s something else to keep in mind: You can always remodel a house in a great community, but you can’t remodel the community to fit your house.

If there’s a neighborhood you’re interested in, take a weekend, plus a weeknight, to drive through it. How’s the traffic? Are the homes too close, or are they not close enough? Are neighbors visiting each other, or are they just speeding in and out their driveways? Can you park your car and walk to a coffee shop if that’s your thing? 

With that said, here are a few communities worth checking out this weekend. Now, get ready to gas up — and don’t forget your pumpkin spice latte. 

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MORNINGSIDE STREET PHOTO COURTESY GOOGLE

Morningside (City of Pittsburgh): Neatly settled between Highland Park and Stanton Heights, this welcoming neighborhood overlooks the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. Residential homes were introduced to the former farming community in 1905 with the opening of the Chislett Street trolley line, which brought a building boom of more than 500 homes.

Morningside also has one of the longest level walking stretches in the city, which spans from Stanton Avenue to Greenwood Street and repeats on the parallel streets of Chislett, Jancey and Morningside avenues. Residents walk dogs, push strollers and gather on porches to catch up on the latest news. 

The business district features The Bulldog Pub for beer and casual fare; Ka-Fair Coffee shop, three hair salons, Eddie’s Pizza Haus, Morningside Market and Tim’s Barber Shop, a 60-year community staple. 

Stats: 16 homes for sale with a median list price of $262,500. 

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ASPINWALL STREET PHOTO COURTESY GOOGLE

Aspinwall: Nestled along the Allegheny River along Route 28, and located near the Highland Park Bridge, this suburban bedroom community is bustling with charm. Families also love to live here thanks to the award-winning Fox Chapel School District. 

It’s hard to snag a house here — and one afternoon walk will quickly reveal why. Lovely gardens and homes with diverse architecture sit among mature tree-lined streets.

The newly renamed Allegheny RiverTrail Park is a great place to walk the garden-lined trail, and everyone loves to stop at Labriola’s Italian Market for fresh pepperoni rolls and imported specialty items. The close proximity to the Waterworks Mall, UPMC St. Margaret Hospital and the bustling business district make this a must-see community.. 

Stats: 16 houses listed with a median list price of $365,000. 

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CARNEGIE STREET PHOTO COURTESY GOOGLE

Carnegie: Heading west of the city, Carnegie is filled with suburban gems that are not to be missed if you are looking for great houses with great value. Charming Craftsmen, Pittsburgh Foursquares and typical ranch homes dot the landscape. Homes are reasonably priced and renovators are still flipping homes here. Expect easy access to the highway, convenient shopping, including a lovely main street, and lots of bang for your buck. 

Stats: 26 houses listed with a median list price of $199,500.

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GREENFIELD STREET PHOTO COURTESY GOOGLE

Greenfield (City of Pittsburgh): It’s pretty hard to plant a foot in Squirrel Hill or Shadyside these days, but there are still good houses to be had in Greenfield. A small central business district and proximity to The Waterfront, Squirrel Hill, Frick Park and bike trails make this a user-friendly place to be. Houses are sturdy, sidewalks are plentiful and the people are friendly. 

Stats: 49 houses listed with a median list price of $225,000.     

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LIGONIER STREET PHOTO COURTESY GOOGLE

Second Homes: The national trend to purchase a second home has also taken hold in the Pittsburgh region. Taking a drive south to the Laurel Highlands, or north on Interstate 79, will reward you with some serious fall foliage action — even if you don’t find your dream house. Some places to check out include the Laurel Highlands (Ligonier, Latrobe and Somerset) and north toward Conneaut Lake, Grove City and Erie. 

Hot Property is an inside look into unique and historic homes on the market. Each week, Hot Property goes behind the For Sale sign to share the story of a special Pittsburgh-area home. And four times a year, Hot Property gives an in-depth look at the region’s real estate market in Pittsburgh Magazine HOME, tracking housing prices and sales and detailing where the hot properties can be found. Rosa can be reached at onecordovaroad@gmail.com.

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