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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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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