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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Map: Neighborhoods With the Highest Rents

trulia rental map

Last months’s national rental rates rose by 3 percent year-over-year — but not in Philadelphia. According to Trulia, the city’s rents actually decreased by .1% percent (hey, it’s something) and the city is among the top 25 rental markets in the country.

The above map is the result of a year’s worth of collected data and shows median prices according to zip code. Those colored in red are the highest, while green displays the lowest. The highest rentals appear to have clustered around Center City ($1,850) and Rittenhouse Row ($1,750).

Last July, Kwelia (which did a rental-market heat map before it was cool) named Logan Square and Northern Liberties as the areas with highest rental medians. Back then Logan Square averaged to $1,765, while NoLibs came in at $1,700. Trulia’s map says the current median for those neighborhoods are $1,700 and $1,225, respectively.

New Apartments With Roof Decks Under Way in Burgeoning Francisville

construction-openTwo new multifamily townhomes, one of them with corner retail space, are under construction in a section of Francisville that has seen plenty of new development over the last year.

All that construction is by design, if you will: the neighborhood’s community development corporation, the Francisville Neighborhood Development Corporation (FNDC), states that its mission is “to improve the quality of life in the Francisville community through commercial and residential development.”

In contrast to some of its sister organizations, however, the FNDC actively promotes private-sector redevelopment in the neighborhood. These new buildings are just one example of many under way.

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Precious Rental: Historic Home on Ringgold Place


You can barely walk a block on South 19th Street without stumbling over a century-old street or a picturesque lane begging to be Instagrammed (hello, Cypress, Delancey and Panama!). But Ringgold Place stands out even among the rarefied lanes of Rittenhouse Square. Homes on the 1900 block of Waverly Street date back to the Civil War, when construction materials weren’t exactly easy to acquire. The rowhomes were built around 1862 with identically austere finishes and facades, featuring three brick stories over matching raised basements. 

Doubling the historic cachet, in 1925 Philadelphia architect George Howe purchased the entire block. When he wasn’t busy designing the PSFS Building from his office at 1900 Ringgold Place, Howe and his firm updated the homes and gussied up some of the facades. In 1983, all 26 homes were added to the National Register of Historic Places.

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Would-Be Sellers in Phoenixville Turn to Airbnb

phoenixville airbnb screen shot

A screen shot of the home from Airbnb

By Virginia C. McGuire

Last summer we featured a modern house in the woods near Valley Forge National Historical Park that’s all clean lines and windows. The house was removed from the market but has recently appeared on Airbnb.

The rental is available in three different configurations. Travelers can rent the entire house , just the master suite, or just the guest bedroom. We hear they’ve already got their first booking from an extended family looking to rent the house for Thanksgiving.

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Dentist Fraud Rogal’s Former Condo Is for Rent


At long last, Center City dentist Owen Rogal, who owned the Pain Center at 12th and Lombard, is going to prison. According to the Inquirer, Rogal and his daughter made close to $5 million in illegal billing charges to insurance companies, and he’s been sentenced to seven years. It’s anyone’s guess where some of his extra cash flow went, but judging from these photos of his five-star home, we have some idea.

The Rittenhouse unit has a 180-degree view of the city, an open-floor plan, and a glass wall supporting a double-sided fireplace between the living room and bedroom. Floor-to-ceiling windows are in the master suite, which also has custom closets and power blinds. A granite bathroom gets a view of the cityscape. Because it’s the Rittenhouse, perks include an on-call chauffeured car.

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Morning Headlines: Ruffin Nichols Church Is Really Gone

Ruffin Nichols painting

Fragment of what was lost when the Ruffin Nichols church was demolished. Photo: Liz Spikol reports that OSHA fined Upper Darby for “serious violations — like a lack of training regarding hydrochloric acid — that “posed a substantial possibility of serious harm or death.”
• Ruffin Nichols Church is completely demolished, says Naked Philly. “Now, the spot where the church stood for many decades is a flat dirt lot. Eventually, we understand fourteen condos and four townhomes will rise here.”
• Berlin-based artist Katharinia Grosse will paint a five-mile stretch of dilapidated buildings along the train track tracks, in a “torrent of color,” says Neast Philly.

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Lovely App for Renters Could Make Life So Much Easier

lovely inbox screenshot

Apply With Lovely inbox is a one-stop shop for renters and landlords.

If you’ve rented in Philadelphia, you know the horror of dealing with all those applications: different information required, separate fees, individual credit reports and fees for those…it’s so annoying, it’s enough to make you stay where you are even if you hate it.

The rental search website Lovely has introduced Apply With Lovely, which — if landlords get onboard with it and if it takes off — will make the apartment search so much easier. It’s the only single platform that combines search, application and approval for rentals in one place. It works on mobile and desktop. It makes me swoon just thinking about it.

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2116 Chestnut’s Luxury Rentals: Amenities and Views for Days

It’s not very often that the shiny new luxury high rise is rental-only. But such is the case at 2116 Chestnut. The building is home to 321 units spread between 30 floors all set above a five-story parking garage. Residents enjoy an entire amenities floor closer to the kind you’d find in a fancy condo building, as well as high-end finishes in their own apartments.

In addition to the standard-issue stainless steel kitchen appliances and granite countertops, individual units each come with front-loading washers and dryers and their own dedicated hot water heaters. Units range in size from about 620 square feet in the studios to approximately 1,200 square feet in two-bedroom, two-bath models. Expect to pay anywhere between $1,800 for a studio closer to the ground and up to $3,675 for a two-bedroom, two-bath space on the 34th floor.

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