Craigslist Landlord Arrested on Fraud Charges

Harry Moore in a photo provided by the Philadelphia Police Department.

Harry Moore in a photo provided by the Philadelphia Police Department.

Harry Moore, the man who allegedly scammed potential renters out of thousands of dollars, has been arrested.

Philadelphia Police report that on Wednesday, Moore turned himself in to Northwest Division detectives after he saw a report about the accusations against him on the television news. He faces 15 counts of fraud and related offenses. Read more »

How to Rent Out Your Place During the Pope’s Philadelphia Visit

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Will you look to rent out a spare room or house for the Pope’s Visit | Photo: Rex Features, AP

Papal-seeking pilgrims are soon going to find themselves in a mad scramble for accommodations during the upcoming World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia (September 21st through 27th), especially around the days when the Pope is actually in town (the 25th through 27th). Archbishop of Philadelphia Charles Chaput got on the horn recently to let people know that Philly has “only” 11,000 hotel rooms and “barely 65,000 within a 60-mile radius.” The “no room at the inn” jokes write themselves, as hotels have either filled up or blacked out the dates for large group commitments. With crowds estimated over the 1 million mark for 2015’s other Holy Week, that just ain’t gonna cut it. Read more »

2014 Was a Good Year for Philadelphia Apartments

A research report from Delta Associates shows that 2014 was a strong year for the apartment market in Philadelphia, according to Philadelphia Business Journal‘s Natalie Kostelni. Rents in Class A apartments rose by 3.7% to $2,128/month and vacancy was down.

That’s great news, right? Well, it all depends on if Millennials and Empty Nesters continue to flock into the city for apartments. Delta counts 4,014 units in the pipeline to be completed within the next three years, which could saturate the market and increase vacancy rates.

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Morning Headlines: Flipping the Conventional Wisdom on Renters

Photo by Michelle W. via Flickr.

Photo by Michelle W. via Flickr.

Kellie Patrick Gates parses a hefty city planning commission survey at PlanPhilly this morning. Among the findings that might surprise you if you still subscribe to antiquated notions about renters: they are “highly committed” to their neighborhoods; many choose to rent despite their ability to buy; and the most highly committed renters in Philly appear to live outside Center City.

Among the findings that night not surprise you:

Other factors that respondents said kept them from buying included some Philadelphia-specific criticisms: School quality (31 percent), taxes (29 percent), the feeling they could get more house for less money outside the city (27 percent).

The report also found that Center City renters love exactly what you think they’d love. Restaurants, amenities and walkability. Renters in neighborhoods outside Center City cited closeness to friends and family as behind their decisions to rent where they do.

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Harvard: Some Young Philly Renters Can Actually Afford to Own a Home

afford-to-ownThe Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) has taken a big pot and stirred in some Census data, Freddie Mac survey results and National Association of Realtors info and come up with this conclusion: In some metros in this great nation of ours, people between the ages of 25 and 34 who are currently renting could actually afford to own a house.

How is this defined? Glad you asked. According to JCHS:

Affordable owner costs are monthly mortgage payments, insurance, and taxes that do not exceed 35% of incomes. Mortgages assume a 5% downpayment, a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at 2013 interest rates on the median priced home for that metro.

The problem is that these young renters, as JCHS calls them, can’t afford to buy a house in the first place.

In the Philly metro area, it’s not as though this is a crushing problem to begin with, as the share of renters who can afford to own is only 43.4 percent. This isn’t too much higher than the percentage rate of homeownership among the same demographic, which is 39.8 percent. Other stats:

Overall Homeownership Rate (Percent) 67.7
Median Income, Renters Aged 25-34 40,586
Median Home Price (Dollars) 217,700
Monthly Owner Costs (Dollars) 1,378

Many Young Renters Can Afford Monthly Cost of Owning a Home in Their Metro [JCHS]

What do Renters Want? Survey Says: Outdoor Space and Pet Amenities

Photo by Laura Kicey.

Photo of rooftop pool at 2116 Chestnut by Laura Kicey.

It might not be surprising that a survey conducted in early spring yielded “outdoor amenities” as the number-one goal for people on the market for a new place. In May, we all want gardens and pools and greenery. By September we could do without the weed killers and the leaf skimmers. By February we don’t ever want to go outside again. But even if the pole position isn’t surprising, the rest of the list is worth some parsing.

Urban Igloo, a real estate resource that pairs renters with landlords in D.C., Marlyand, Virginia and Philly, surveyed 1,010 people last month and asked them to rank amenities they considered important when searching for new homes. Outdoor amenities came away the clear winner with 47 percent of respondents ranking them first. The feature that came in second? “Pet amenities.” Leaving aside the ambiguity of the term for a moment, we have to admit to being surprised that more people want pet services than want fitness amenities, which came in a lowly third. Though if you aren’t interested in walking your dog, you might not be interested in the gym.
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For Rent: Loft-Style Condo Next to Di Bruno Bros.

1728 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA.

1728 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA.

Just a block from Rittenhouse Square and hidden among a collection of retail and commercial establishments is this bi-level condo rising above one of Philly’s most pedestrian-filled streets. It has a balcony overlooking Chestnut, and should new tenants not feel like making dinner, there’s Di Bruno Bros. right next door.

The apartment’s interior consists of walnut flooring, exposed brick, and polished concrete, industrial details complemented by the exposed air duct that runs through the open living and dining area. In the kitchen are SS appliances, a Sub Zero refrigerator, and granite countertops. Upstairs, the master bedroom includes walk-in closets and a balcony.

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Morning Headlines: Philadelphia’s Booming Luxury Rental Market

Photo credit: SouthStarLofts.com

Photo credit: SouthStarLofts.com

While the for-sale market experiences up and downs in a post-recession world, things are looking pretty good for the luxury rental market in Philadelphia. What are the factors determining this success?

Relatively cheap real estate, for one. Though the Inquirer’s Alan J. Heavens notes that “by Philadelphia standards, prices locally are recovering to pre-housing-downturn levels,” real estate investment professional Spencer Yablon tells Heavens that “by comparison to other markets, [Philadelphia] real estate is still cheap.”

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