Pew: Housing Market Is the Bright Spot in Philly’s Cloudy Skies

millennialsA younger, better educated, upwardly mobile horde has descended on Philadelphia, transforming swaths of the city into something barely recognizable to old-timers. This demographic touched off a residential building boom last year, the single strongest positive indicator of the city’s rebound, according to the Pew Philadelphia Research Initiative’s latest “Philadelphia: State of the City” update.

More than half of all Philadelphians are now under the age of 35, and 26 percent are between the ages of 20 and 34, when young adults are in the process of launching careers and households. Building places for these residents to live has become a growth industry: in 2013, the city issued building permits for 2,815 new housing units, the most in a decade. That new construction has an estimated value of $465 million, the highest on record.

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Philadelphia: Second Best Market for Home Buying in U.S.

Detail from Zillow's Buyers and Sellers map.

Detail from Zillow’s Buyers and Sellers map.

This is good news! has ranked Philadelphia No. 2 in its list of the 10 best buyers’ markets. What does that mean? From Zillow Blog:

In buyers’ markets, homes for sale stay on the market longer, price cuts occur more frequently and homes are sold for less relative to their listing price.

“In the East, housing markets are appreciating a bit more slowly, and homes are staying on the market longer, which helps give buyers the upper hand,” said Zillow Chief Economist Dr. Stan Humphries

“In general, buyers in sellers’ markets this spring can expect tight inventory, increased competition and a greater sense of urgency. Sellers in buyers’ markets may need to be prepared to lower their asking price, or to wait longer for the perfect buyer to come along.”

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Philadelphia Is in Top 10 Most Unequal Metros

homeless man in septa station

Photo: Liz Spikol

Writing for Trulia Trends and The Atlantic Cities, Trulia’s CEO Jed Kolko says what the Occupy movement brought to mainstream consciousness, even as everyone derided those who soapboxed the message: “Income inequality has been growing in America, driven by technology, globalization, and other factors. It’s caused tensions between the haves and have-nots, which often get played out at the local level, and these tensions have erupted into fights over housing affordability and public services.”

Kolko examines income inequality in the 100 largest metros for the years 2012, 2006, 2000, and 1990. Based on collected Census data, Kolko finds that the Philadelphia metro’s rich-poor gap is in the top 10 — No. 7, to be exact. Here’s a chart:

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Philadelphia Rental Market Poised for Takeoff

millennialsThe prospects for new multifamily construction in Philly look good in the long run, a panel of insiders say – but there are some matters that need to be addressed for the market to truly blossom. The millennial generation (pictured at left) is getting tired of living with its parents and is ready to strike out on its own. Developers and investors are now giving them the apartments to rent here, and are ready to supply even more if the jobs they need materialize.

That was the rough consensus of the panelists who spoke on the state of the Philadelphia rental property market at the RealShare Philadelphia conference at the Union League Feb. 27.

Things are picking up on the multifamily front, said panel moderator Jerald M. Goodman, partner at Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP. In fact, he said, “Multifamily is hot.”

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Infographic: House Flipping to Millennials, Not Hipsters

hipster infographic

We’ve modified RealtyTrac’s infographic. Full graphic below.

RealtyTrac has released a “flipster” report: data, graphics and an infographic all meant to explain where the “hipster” demographic is buying and renting right now. The infographic we show below outlines what an investor can do to flip a home specifically for the hipster market — hence, flipster.

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Real Estate Website’s “20 Maps of Philly” Screws Up Real Estate Part

philadelphia foreclosures

A fragment of the 2009 map used by

This week, Movoto, an online real estate brokerage, posted “20 Maps Of Philadelphia You Didn’t Study In Geography” on its content marketing blog. It’s really silly, poorly executed, and if it weren’t for Policymic’s “25 Most Important Maps of 2013” (which is actually really good), it wouldn’t exist at all.

But what’s really egregious about the map post is that its one explicitly real estate-related map — of Philadelphia foreclosures — is from 2009, is completely impossible to decipher, and links to no reference for the information. Come on, kids. You’re in the real estate biz. Surely you can do better than this. Or at least we can.

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Market Forecast: “For the First Time in 20 Years, We Have a Growth Story to Tell.”

piazza building

Detail of a Piazza photo by Laura Kiceynull.

If the analysts viewing Philly from 10,000 feet put it in the middle of the nation’s large real estate markets, the analysts close to the ground have a much more positive view of it.

Where the more than 1,000 industry insiders the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and PwC surveyed for their “Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2014″ forecast recommended holding but not buying real estate assets in the Philadelphia market, the panel of specialists who spoke at last Friday’s ULI Philadelphia seminar on local market trends saw much more upside potential.

Where the locals agreed with the national survey was that the region’s industrial real estate market was strong. “Industrial is still the product class of choice,” said David Ricci, partner at The Flynn Company, to the capacity crowd that filled the Union League’s Lincoln Room ballroom.

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Philly Real Estate Market Forecast for 2014: Just Right


Image from an old Goldilocks comic book. Read on, below. It’s relevant.

Many observers have commented on the “Goldilocks” nature of the Philadelphia regional economy: It’s neither too hot nor too cold, but just right to sustain a decent level of growth and activity.

In real-estate-speak, that translates to: If you own or develop commercial property in this area, hang onto it. But if you’re torn between buying and selling, sell. If you’re a homebuilder, you can probably keep on doing what you’re doing already or even do a little more of it.

That’s a rough summary of the forecast for greater Philadelphia contained in the 2014 edition of “Emerging Trends in Real Estate,” the annual nationwide survey of real estate industry professionals jointly conducted by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and PwC (formerly Pricewaterhouse Coopers).

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Philly Metro Gets a “Meh” on Housing Affordability

Screen shot from

Screen shot from

A few days ago, a Twitterer of my acquaintance wrote: “Can we retire ‘meh’ now?” And I think it’s safe to say that the word to express indifference or a state of being between good and bad has outlived its usefulness. So this is hereby Property Philly’s last employment of the word “meh,” but it’s apt: The metro area got a passing grade on’s second annual Home Affordability Study, but that grade is a C-. Overall, the study results weren’t good for wannabe homeowners who live in big cities because while home prices have gone up, salaries have not. Perhaps you’ve noticed?

For more on the study and its methodology, as well as other cities’ rankings, go here: Big city housing less affordable

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