Posted August 25, 2017 by RentJungle

Lawrenceville has been one of the hippest, hottest neighborhoods in Pittsburgh for more than half a decade. Whether you want to snag a baguette at La Gourmandine (the best bakery in town!), are craving a smoked Kielbasa from Franktuary, or want to dance your heart out at Cattivo, Lawrenceville is bustling with fun and culture. Rental prices had been consistently increasing for this cool east end neighborhood, but in the past year, rental prices have actually dropped slightly, making it a great time to move to Lawrenceville.

Location Location Location

A neighborhood in Pittsburgh's East End, Lawrenceville is located along the south bank of the Allegheny River. With Highland Park to its east, the Strip District to its west, and Bloomfield and Garfield to the southeast, Lawrenceville is located in the apex of Pittsburgh culture. Across the 40th Street Bridge on the other side of the Allegheny River lies Troy Hill and Millvale.

Lawrenceville is long and skinny in shape, stretching along the Allegheny River. The neighborhood runs along Butler Street, a long road paralleling the river that is teeming with restaurants, shops, and nightlife.

Lawrenceville is divided into three separate sections. Upper Lawrenceville is the furthest northeast, wedged between the Allegheny cemetery and Highland Park. Further away from the main throng of businesses on Butler, Upper Lawrenceville tends to be calmer and more residential than the rest of the neighborhood.

Central Lawrenceville encompasses the heart of the neighborhood's main street. Located roughly between 40th Street and the cemetery, living in Central Lawrenceville puts you right at the heart of the culture and nightlife of this vibrant neighborhood.

Lower Lawrenceville falls southwest of 40th street, between Central Lawrenceville and the Strip District. Though slightly further from the hustle and bustle of Central Lawrenceville, there are many great neighborhood spots in the lower section such as Round Corner Cantina and Espresso a Mano. Up the hill, the Church Brew Works is an awesome spot to grab a pint with friends. Lower Lawrenceville is also the section of the neighborhood closest to downtown; it's central location making it an easy commute to many other parts of the city.

Each section of Lawrenceville has it's own rental market. The central location and proximity to downtown makes Lower Lawrenceville the most expensive of the three. The average apartment rents for $1657, making Lower Lawrenceville the seventh most expensive neighborhood in the city.

Central Lawrenceville is slightly more affordable, with rents averaging around $1264. The more residential Upper Lawrenceville is significantly cheaper, with the average rent coming in at about $902.

A Hot Market, Recently Cooling

As Pittsburgh's revitalization and cultural efforts have pushed the city into the national spotlight, rental prices in the Steel City have shot up over the past decade. Between 2011 and 2015, rental prices more than doubled in the city. In April of 2011, the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Pittsburgh was only $772. By November 2015, average rent for a two-bedroom apartment had jumped to $1613. That is a 108% increase of rental price in only four and a half years.

However, in the past year there have been signs that the housing market is cooling. At its peak, the average rental price for a two-bedroom apartment in Pittsburgh clocked in at $1645. That was November of 2016. By July 2017, the average rent of a two-bedroom apartment in Pittsburgh had dropped to $1467; an 11% drop in rental prices in the span of only eight months.


Lawrenceville rental trends have followed a similar trajectory. In February of 2015, the average rent for an apartment in Lawrenceville was a little bit more than $1100. Rents in the neighborhood steadily increased, reaching an all time high of $1600 a month in December of 2016. However, in recent months, market prices have begun to dip back down. Six months after that peak, in June of 2017, the average monthly rent of an apartment in Lawrenceville was around $1250, the lowest average rent for the neighborhood in nearly a year. Average rent in Lawrenceville varies dramatically month to month, but recent data suggests that we are seeing a downward trend in housing costs in this hip neighborhood.

As Pittsburgh's job market continues to rapidly expand, wages across the city have shot upwards. Studies found that after inflation, the average wage in Pittsburgh grew nearly 6% annually from 2004 to 2015. Though most of this income growth is happening in tech, health, finance and other parts of the so-called knowledge sector, Pittsburgh is one of the few metro areas that showed positive wage growth for low-income earners with an annual income of about $23,000. Employment and wages in the steel city are both growing at a rate that outpaces the national average.

Though faring better than blue-collar workers in other cities across the nation, low-income earners in Pittsburgh are still struggling with the rapid rise in rent. A stagnant minimum wage has left the lowest paid workers unable to keep up with skyrocketing housing costs. A research group in Washington DC calculated that a worker would need to work more than two full time minimum wage jobs to afford a two bedroom apartment in Pittsburgh, with a median cost of $822.

The city council's resolution to raise the minimum wage in the city from $7.25 to $12, as part of an incremental plan towards a $15 minimum wage, is certainly a step the right direction. Paired with these cooling rental trends, signs point to housing in Pittsburgh becoming more affordable again.

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