Sustaining Philadelphia’s revitalization by sustaining downtown housing demand

A new report from Center City District and Central Philadelphia Development Corporation shows the Greater Center City is among the fastest growing residential sections of Philadelphia.

For the third year in a row, more than 1,500 housing units were brought to market in 2015, 64% of which were rental, with 61% of those located in the core of downtown. Thirty-six percent were for-sale houses, 98% of which were constructed in the extended neighborhoods that surround the commercial downtown.

Through the end of 2015, demand kept pace with supply, as the volume of completions slowed somewhat. The 1,538 units completed in 2015 were 22% fewer than the 1,983 units completed in 2014 and 26% off the record pace of 2,091 in 2013, when Philadelphia surged out of recession. Delta Associates, which tracks larger and newer buildings (constructed after 1991), found that year-end-2015 citywide rents had increased by 3.1% over 2014, while vacancy dropped from 5.7% last year to just 2.8% at the end of 2015.2 RentHub, which scans on-line rental listings, found rising rents in nearly every neighborhood between Girard Avenue and Tasker Street, river to river.

CCD/CPDC’s (Center City District / Central Philadelphia Development Corporation) tabulation of multiple-listing service records for homes sold through brokers shows prices rising everywhere in Center City with the number of days houses remained on the market declining for the third year in a row.

But with 5,833 units (78% of which are rental) now under construction and many more proposed, continued market equilibrium depends greatly on the timing in which these new units are delivered during the next three years, the duration of the current national economic expansion, and Philadelphia’s ability to generate more dynamic job growth and retain a greater share of young professionals as their children reach school age.

Macro-economic, cultural and demographic factors are favoring Philadelphia, as national preferences for live-work, transit-oriented settings have benefitted all vibrant city centers.

See full housing report from Center City (PDF) & photo credit.

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