The historic home of the nation's first Quakers, Pennsylvania shares the same mix of farmland rural regions with highly-dense population centers in major cities. Home of the birthplace of the Constitution in Philadelphia, the state has a rich history in the creation of the country as well as being one of the 13 original colonies. Today, Pennsylvania is supported by industries in tourism, government, iron and steel production, banking, agriculture, and gambling. The state is also a big draw for universities and colleges as well. Pennsylvania provides a home to such schools as Carnegie Melon, Penn State, University of Pennsylvania, and University of Pittsburg. The state is also a big draw for sports being the home of the Little League World Series for baseball, college football, professional baseball and basketball, and car racing.
By area, Pennsylvania is not such a large state - its total area ranks only 33rd in the United States. However, it's home to a larger percentage of the population with nearly 13 million calling the Quaker State home. That's the 6th biggest population in America. The state economy produces between $550 and $600 billion annually, a figure that would rank in the top 20 in the world if PA was an autonomous country.
At the end of 2013, the average home value in PA sits around $150,000, up about 4% year over year. Of course, this is just the average. Homes in towns like New Hope and Newtown Square, for example, have an median sale price of over $1 million. Less expensive areas like Wilkes Barre and New Castle, PA, have average home prices of under $100,000. According to NerdWallet.com, the top five towns in Pennsylvania for raising a family are Jefferson Hills, Greensburg, Phoenixville, Broomall, and Lansdale.
Philadelphia is one of the great American cities; its well known nicknames include the City of Brotherly Love and Philly. It's also known as a big sports town, as local fans are crazy about MLB's Phillies, the NFL's Eagles, the NHL's and Flyers. The Philly metro alone produces around 60% of PA's gross state product through industries such as banking, IT, services, healthcare, and manufacturing. Many Fortune 500 companies like Comcast and Lincoln Financial call the city home.
Pittsburgh is PA's second biggest city, and it's quite a bit larger than its population implies - the city's metro area is home to over 2.5 million people, making it one of the 20 largest in the United States. Pittsburgh is of course famous for producing steel, but since these jobs left the city has remade itself as a technology hub - there are many jobs in robotics, bio tech, and other high skill fields. PNC Financial Services, the parent company of PNC Bank, is headquartered in Pittsburgh.
This may surprise those unfamiliar with the east coast, but Allentown and its metro, Leigh Valley, are actually part of the New York City metro area. The city remains a manufacturing center, and companies like Air Products & Chemicals and PPL call Allentown home.
Searching for your first Pennsylvania bank? Tired of the bank that you use now and ready for a change? No matter what your situation, there's a financial institution out there ready to serve you. Citizens of the Keystone State have a great deal of choice - community lenders that have been around for hundreds of years, credit unions with impressive track records, or an account with a big bank, like PNC which is actually headquartered in Pittsburgh. Below, we've outlined a few of your choices.
Local and community banks:
Big banks with local branches:
As you can see, there are a lot of choices. You'll obviously want to factor in convenience when deciding on a financial institution - you don't want to have to go out of your way to get your money - but it's also important to shop around for the best interest rates. You can get started on our website.
Those thinking about a new home in Pennsylvania should definitely consult RateZip.com before making any financing decisions. The website provides detailed access to regional mortgage rates, providing buyers the best decision-making data available. The first step is learning about the types of mortgage loans available.
The most common type of loans in PA are conventional mortgages, meaning loans that are guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two (in?)famous government sponsored entities. To qualify, you must have a good to excellent credit score, solid employment history, and your loan must fall under the conforming limit.
For those who cannot qualify for a conventional home loan, there are government programs that are insured by the FHA and VA. The Federal Housing Administration, or FHA, insures home loans with lower down payments and for individuals or families with less than perfect credit. These can be a great option for first time home buyers, though they do tend to be a bit more expensive.
VA mortgages are insured by the Veterans Administration and are designed to help veterans of the armed forces become homeowners. Like FHA loans, these home loans are available to veterans with less than perfect credit and sometimes require no down payment at all.