The city may be among the largest with high homeownership rates, but that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been a significant fall. In a Pew report released this past Wednesday, Philadelphia was found to have a 7.1 percentage-point decline– the second-highest drop in homeownership in comparison to other major cities.
According to the Inquirer’s Alan J. Heavens, the study reports the plunge took place between 2000 and 2012, and that its main catalyst was the infamous “real estate downturn that followed the bursting of the housing bubble in 2006-07,” as well as other general recession fruits (“stagnant incomes,” “rising home prices,” and “tight credit”).
Concrete reasons for the homeownership downturn, however, are harder to come by. Pew study director Larry Eichel believes Philly had a "higher starting point in terms of homeownership, so it had further to drop," but that there's "no hard data on which to base a firm conclusion."
Plus, there is that thing about student-loan debt. As Heavens puts it, "young professionals who once were the chief source of first-time buyers are either wary of homeownership or burdened by student-loan debt." And yet, there is one section of the city that has had its homeownership go up (granted, just by 1%):
The highest homeownership rate is in what it calls "Torresdale North," the 19154 zip code. It is at 82 percent, up 1 percentage point from the 2000 census.
"This is the Far Northeast," said Mayfair Realtor Christopher J. Artur, "places such as Normandy, East Torresdale, Parkwood and Woodhaven," along the Bucks County line.
"It has the newest and largest rowhouses in the city, was long attractive to firefighters and police officers, has all of its Catholic schools intact and the better public schools," he said.
Homeownership increase has also taken place around Center City, save for the central business district itself: "The 19102 zip code - Center City West - is just 20 percent, and there is an increase in luxury rentals."
Meanwhile, the Lower Northeast -- neighborhoods like Oxford Circle, Frankford, Castor Gardens, and Mayfair -- has had a major shift from buyers to renters. Germantown, on the other hand, has "remained relatively stagnant," according to developer Ken Weinstein.
The study's results show the exact gap between renters and buyers is a narrow 277,323 to and 302,551, respectively.
• Homeownership in Philadelphia tumbles, report says [Inquirer]
Moving onto other news…
• Slowly but surely, Pa. land banks start to mobilize [NewsWorks]
• Deadline passes for Holy Family Liddonfield Expansion [Northeast Times]
• Norris Apartments receive federal aid for redevelopment [Temple News]
• Demolition to begin soon for construction of new Wynnewood Whole Foods [Main Line Times]