Pittsburg ranked among top work-from-home cities as local home sales see uptick

Jonathan Riley
Morning Sun
Construction recently started on several homes at Silverback Landing in Pittsburg.

PITTSBURG, Kan. — Across the country, virtually everyone has had to make changes to their routines during the COVID-19 pandemic, which for many has meant adjusting to working from home. Those living and working from home in Pittsburg, however, are located in one of the best places to do so, according to newly released rankings of cities nationwide. 

Pittsburg, Kansas is #31 on a list of the top 50 work-from-home cities in the U.S. for 2021 released this week by tech news publication PCMag. 

“The local government offers attractive incentives for new and existing businesses, among them low-cost or free land and bureaucratic fast-tracking, making it a hot spot for entrepreneurs,” PCMag notes. “Pittsburg is also home to numerous festivals, including the Little Balkans Days Celebration; many are hosted at one of the city’s 23 parks. The cost of living is 31.2% lower than the U.S. national average.” 

The city government was quick to promote the news. 

“We are excited to be ranked among the top US cities providing fast internet speeds and an exceptional quality of life,” Pittsburg Deputy City Manager Jay Byers said in a press release. “This acknowledgement is the result of years of careful planning, collaboration, and hard work to create an atmosphere that nurtures growth.” 

The release also notes how PCMag decided to include Pittsburg on its list. 

“Our list started by looking at towns where people have and use gigabit broadband, and the work Craw-Kan and now Optic have done to put Pittsburg in the fast lane caused it to bubble up on our list,” said PCMag Analyst Sascha Segan, according to the release. “Combine that with the presence of PSU, low housing prices, a walkable layout, and plenty of parks, and the city came up as a hidden gem.” 

Pittsburg’s new ranking on the best work-from-home cities list comes amid an increase in local home sales. 

“Local home sales are really taking off, with 56 homes sold in the Pittsburg micropolitan area in October, up 124 percent from October 2019,” the latest Pittsburg Micropolitan Area Economic Report notes, citing numbers released by the Pittsburg Board of Realtors (PBOR). The “Pittsburg Micropolitan Area” is also known as Crawford County. The reports are produced quarterly by Pittsburg State University’s Kelce College of Business, with the most recent being for the fourth quarter of 2020. 

The City of Pittsburg has been working in recent years to encourage residential development, often through the use of Rural Housing Incentive Districts. Some of these planned neighborhoods, such as Silverback Landing and more recently Creekside East, have been somewhat controversial, with neighbors bringing up a variety of concerns.  

At least in the case of Silverback Landing, though, one of those concerns has been that construction was slower to start than initially expected. Construction of several homes, however, has now started at Silverback Landing. 

More recently since the PSU quarterly economic report was released, the broader Southeast Kansas region outside of Crawford and Cherokee counties saw a slight decrease in home sales in January, according to the Southeast Kansas Association of Realtors (SEKAR).  

The area covered by the SEKAR includes the cities of Coffeyville, Independence, Iola, and Parsons, along with Allen, Anderson, Chautauqua, Coffey, Elk, Labette, Montgomery, Neosho, Wilson and Woodson counties in Kansas and Osage, Nowata and Washington counties in Oklahoma, according to Ashlee Ricks, who is association executive for both the SEKAR and PBOR. 

Home sales fell by just over 8 percent in that region in January compared to last year, the SEKAR said in a press release.  

In Pittsburg itself and the immediate vicinity, though, the trend of increased home sales over 2019 noted in the PSU report seems to have continued, if not quite as dramatically as in October. 

Total home sales in Crawford County increased by more than 36 percent in December to 45 units, compared to 33 units in December 2019, the PBOR said in a press release last month. Total sales volume was up more than 70 percent from a year earlier, an increase of more than $5 million.