Category: Report Card

Blog of the Week: “Terrible Real Estate Agent Photographs”

Here’s the concept: “Inexplicably bad property photographs. It’s that simple.” And it is. It’s also incredibly funny. Realtor friends, help us understand: How did these happen?




The one above is captioned: “Whatever this furniture was doing before it was interrupted and photographed, I’m pretty sure they shouldn’t have been doing it.”

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Philly Is One of “13 Best Cities to Move in With Your Parents”

live-with-parents-phillySomeone get Meryl Levitz on the horn! This is big news. The real estate website Estately has determined that Philadelphia is unusually hospitable to adult children who want to live at home.

Why Philly? Although the eds and meds economy “cranks out college grads,” 70 percent of Pennsylvania’s four-year-degree holders owe an average of $29,959 in student loans. Thus: “It’s no surprise that a lot of those diplomas will be posted at mom’s house, especially since unemployment is at 8.4 percent.”

Then there’s this:

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Bucks County: Once An Eden, Now “Devastation”

bucks county farm

Photo of Traugers farm in Bucks County by Frenchtowner via Wikimedia

A lengthy article in the International Business Times by Palash Ghosh uses Bucks County, Pa., as a microcosm for the evils of suburban sprawl, and it’s about as harsh as it can get.

Though not unique, of course, Ghosh contends that Bucks County development is a perfect example of the postwar “expansion of suburbia and concurrent gradual disappearance of unspoiled countryside.” Though many people who live in Philadelphia County, for instance, still see Bucks as countryside, 70 percent of the county’s farmlands disappeared between 1950 and 1997, according to figures Ghosh obtained from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

And longtime Bucks residents like Mark Arbeter feel the difference acutely. Arbeter, chief technical strategist at Standard & Poor’s, told Ghosh about his Bucks County youth:

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We Want to Believe: Can the City Sell Vacant Schools As Quickly As It Says?

germantown high school

Germantown High School. Photo by Smallbones via Wikimedia Commons

Mayor Nutter and School Superintendent Hite announced a revised plan to get all those closed schools sold on the real estate market. The new, improved Philadelphia Schools Repurposing Initiative, which has approval from the School Reform Commission (SRC), will allow “highly marketable properties to be identified for expedited sale in order to generate much-needed funds for the School District.” (It’s a good idea to separate the wheat from the chaff; there are some schools that simply don’t have a viable commercial future, unfortunately, and others that have great potential.)

In a statement, Nutter said he and Hite are looking for ways to repurpose the schools “as quickly as possible.” Hite emphasized speed as well, “The School District of Philadelphia recognizes the importance of moving quickly to ensure appropriate reuse of the buildings that became vacant as a result of the Facilities Master Plan.”

Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Alan Greenberger, who will be involved in the project, was a bit more cautious: “This is a complicated, sometimes lengthy process as other school districts across America have experienced,” he said, perhaps so that in a few months he can point back to that very quote.

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Philly Is One of the 10 Best Cities for Twentysomethings

best-city-twentysomethingsPhiladelphia may rank No. 2 in cities plagued by bedbugs, but it’s also No. 10 on a new list of “20 Best Cities for Twentysomethings.” The team at was looking, they said, “for ultra-cool spots where young adults could find jobs they love, unwind at happy hours, join sports leagues, and make new pals.” Other criteria:



    Park space


    Efficient transit systems


    Ethnic and cultural diversity



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Surprise: Philadelphia Is Not One of the 25 Healthiest Housing Markets

A recent report from RealtyTrac and Local Market Monitor lists the top 25 housing markets for good health. The ratings are based on factors including smoking, heavy drinking, obesity, diabetes, asthma, air quality, and number of fast food joints. A quick look at that list, and it’s easy to guess why the Philadelphia Metro Area did not make the list. But neither did any other Northeastern burg except Burlington, Vermont.

The healthiest housing market is Austin, Texas. So go west, y’all.

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Famed Cartographer Anna Wintour Publishes the Worst Map of Philly Ever


Perhaps Vogue didn’t intend for Philadelphians to take its illustration so seriously. It was probably just an impressionistic illustration like the others Vogue has published by artist Jackie Bestemen meant to encapsulate Philly in a cute way. But woe be to those who underestimate the Philly ’Tude–and our resulting ability to get defensive about anything and everything that mentions the city.

That said, the headline of the piece reads: “Like a Local:
Caroline Palmer and Kori Dyer Map Their Shared Hometown, Philadelphia
,” and offers a view of the map that is zoomable. If readers are encouraged to zoom and the word “map” is used, shouldn’t the illustration vaguely approximate reality?

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People Who Are Bad at Math Lose Their Homes More Often

Calling all innumerates: You might want to think twice before buying a home. In the housing bust, those who were bad at math made up the majority of homeowners who went into foreclosure.

From CNN Money:

“Whether you’re good with numbers predicts how likely you are to default,” said Stephan Meier, an associate professor of business at Columbia Business School, who authored the report along with economists from the Federal Reserve of Atlanta and the University of Zurich.

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Convention Center Expansion: A Dud and Embarrassment

pa convention center

Photo by Julia Rowe via Flickr

Despite the Pennsylvania Convention Center website touting “the superb quality of the design aesthetic, detailed down to custom-designed carpets with 15 different geometric patterns,” the expanded state-owned Convention Center that opened in March 2011 isn’t exactly the Taj Mahal. But the intention wasn’t to create a thing of great beauty; rather, it was to bring in significantly increased convention business, that would, in turn, grow hotel business and retail and restaurant as well. As a preview to the opening, the Philadelphia Inquirer asked a number of salient questions, some of them necessarily contradictory: Would all the taxpayer millions on the expansion be worth it in the end? Would there be enough hotels to fill the demand of increased conventioneers?

As Tom Ferrick points out in today’s column for AxisPhilly, worries about the latter question have turned out to be largely moot. He minces no words: “The newly expanded Pennsylvania Convention Center is turning out to be a dud. With a capital D-U-D.”

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