Study Finds Rents Rose Sharply in Philly Last Year

According to data compiled by the apartment-search site Abodo, Philadelphia's average monthly rent increase was the second-highest in the nation last year.
Philadelphia's year-end average rent of $1,341 was $131 higher than the statewide average of $1,210. One-bedroom rents rose an average of 4.3 percent per month in Philadephia, compared to 0.5 percent statewide, according to figures compiled from Adobo's listings database. | Graphic: Abodo

Philadelphia’s year-end average rent of $1,341 was $131 higher than the statewide average of $1,210. One-bedroom rents rose an average of 4.3 percent per month in Philadephia, compared to 0.5 percent statewide, according to figures compiled from Adobo’s listings database. | Graphic: Abodo

How much did it cost to rent a one-bedroom apartment in Philadelphia last year?

On the average, over the course of the year, $1,182. In December, that figure was $1,341, 13.4 percent more than the average figure, according to figures compiled by the apartment-search site Abodo.

In its nationwide Annual Rent Report, released last week, Philadelphia had the second-highest average monthly rise in rent in the nation: 4.2 percent over the course of 2016.

Nationwide, according to Abodo’s figures, rents rose at an average monthly rate of 0.67 percent.

Both in Philadelphia and nationwide, rents fluctuate from month to month. Nationwide, Adobo found average rent changes fluctuated from an increase of more than 5 percent from August to September to a drop of nearly 2.5 percent from September to October.

Relative to other large cities, Philadelphia remains relatively affordable: its year-end average monthly rent of $1,341 is several hundred dollars below the average rents in the 10 most expensive cities as of this month, although it is above the national year-end average of $1,034. Relative to the rest of Pennsylvania, however, Philadelphia is a little more expensive, but only a little: the average statewide one-bedroom apartment rent as of the end of 2016 in Pennsylvania was $1,210.

Abodo spokesperson Sam Radbil attributed the relatively steep increase in average rents in Philadelphia to a number of factors, including employment growth, a decline in homeownership and extremely low vacancy rates citywide. But the most important contributor, he said, was the Millennial population, which has been flocking to the city center.

“Millennials want to live, work and socialize within close proximity to downtown and more urban areas,” he said. “Developers have realized how strong the demand is for city living within this age group, and they’re working hard to supply this demand. New developments are coming to market, and they are being filled with renters at an extremely quick pace. Overall, the Philadelphia market is strong and growing, and it’s a great sign for the city.”

At least in the very near term, the trend shows little sign of slowing down as new high-end apartment buildings catering to this demographic especially continue to come on line.

Abodo bases its figures on its own database of more than one million apartment listings nationwide. This number, however, may not represent all the apartments available for rent at any given time. To avoid small sample bias, the company set minimum population and listings thresholds for its city figures.

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Sandy Smith Home and Real Estate Editor @MarketStEl
ssmith@phillymag.com