Report: Philly’s Second Quarter Housing Numbers Highest in a Decade

Kevin Gillen has the good news (and a word of caution).

Boom has been the buzzword of the year when it comes to Philadelphia real estate. Hell, we dedicated an entire issue to it back in March, but it’s not only about glassy skyscrapers, massive construction sites or even reinvigorated public spaces. The new numbers from Kevin Gillen, chief economist of Meyers Research LLC and senior research fellow at the Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation at Drexel University, highlight how well the city is doing on the single-family housing market.

According to Gillen, the housing market had “its best quarter in ten years this past spring, as both house prices and sales surged throughout the City.” Housing values “soared by 7.3% … amounting to the largest quarterly increase in house prices since the second quarter of 2005.”

Median house prices rose significantly as well–from $117,500 in first quarter all the way up to $138,600 in its current state. This spring saw 4,198 transactions–well above the historic average of 3,811–and over 1,100 more than the previous quarter (3,061). Boom. Town.

The most positive sign is that it’s not just taking place in certain pockets of the city, it’s happening everywhere. Here’s more from Gillen’s report:

House price increases were also uniformly distributed across all neighborhoods, with every part of the City experiencing positive appreciation and the two lowest-income neighborhoods in Philadelphia exhibiting some of the biggest appreciation. The last time that every neighborhood in the City experienced positive appreciation was two years ago, in 2013 Q2.

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It’s worth noting that the report does not take into account sales of condos, which Gillen counts as multifamily housing. So no, those recent $6 million and $7 million sales at 1706 Rittenhouse don’t show up on this list. In that vein, 16 home sales of $1 million or above took place this spring, with all but two coming the within the traditional big-money ‘hoods like Rittenhouse and Society Hill in Center City.

To take a wholly Philly approach, we have to ask ourselves, will it last? Gillen seems cautiously optimistic:

[T]his good news should be tempered with the fact that Philadelphia’s housing market typically tends to proceed in fits and starts. While both recent numbers and current fundamentals give more reason for optimism than pessimism, it should not be surprising if further good news still experiences the occasional setback.

• HOUSING REPORTS [Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation at Drexel University]