Affordable Apartments Getting Scarcer in Philly, Fed Says
Studies conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia have shown that gentrification produces benefits for those lower-income residents who do manage to remain in gentrified neighborhoods. And the city’s relatively low housing costs by East Coast standards have made it possible for many lower-income residents to stick around after their neighborhoods got an upgrade.
According to a study just released by the Philly Fed, lower-income renters may not find it as easy to stick around when their neighborhoods gentrify anymore.
A Newsworks report on Plan Philly delivered the unwelcome news. The study, which analyzed Census data from 2000 to 2014, found that the city lost 23,628, or one-fifth, of its total inventory of apartments renting for $750 a month or less over that time period. The study’s authors consider the $750 figure “affordable” for the average Philadelphia renter. The greatest losses, the study found, occurred in neighborhoods that faced strong gentrification pressures, especially communities like Cedar Park and Point Breeze that had a large number of such units to begin with. Gentrifying neighborhoods lost affordable units at five times the rate of other neighborhoods.
The challenge for housing advocates, the report states, will be ensuring an adequate supply of affordable housing in neighborhoods where rents and property values are rising. That in turn may entail creating a permanent reserved supply of affordable units in such neighborhoods.