Linda K. Harris, Director of Communications
PHILADELPHIA (February 17, 2015) – Residential construction in Greater Center City maintained a very strong pace in 2014 as 1,983 new units were brought to market, including 1,358 apartments,183 condominiums, and 442 single-family homes, with the share of for-sale units increasing from 18% in 2013 to 32% in 2014. Even at this pace, home prices were up, days on market were down substantially, and rental rates were up in nearly every neighborhood in Greater Center City, according to a new report, Center City Reports: Housing, Sustaining Momentum, released today by the Center City District/Central Philadelphia Development Corporation.
In addition, there are 3,681 more units in progress in Greater Center City, with the mix of units closely resembling what has come on line in recent years: 75% apartments, 15% single-family homes, and 10% condominiums.
Fueling the demand for housing in Center City are in-movers of all ages, with 22% (15,033) of the 69,025 new arrivals to the city in 2013 choosing to live in Center City, enabling new household to absorb new supply. As long as national economic cycles reinforce demographic trends that favor downtown, the outlook for sustainable demand is good for at least the next five years.
Among the trends that are invigorating residential Center City is the desire for convenience: the ability to get to work without a car and to walk to restaurants, arts, entertainment and other amenities. In Core Center City, 71% are able to commute to work without a car, and in the extended neighborhoods, more than half the residents arrive at work without a car.
In 11 neighborhoods in Greater Center City, the percentage of households without a car is higher than the citywide average of 33%, and in four of these neighborhoods, more than half of the households have no car, topping out at 61% in Washington Square.
Millennials make up 47% of the population of Core Center bolstered by an influx of empty-nesters. Together they have driven up demand for downtown housing and pushed outward the boundaries of Center City. However, the number of households drops off in the 35- to 44-year-old bracket, suggesting that as incomes rise and families form, people leave.
Jobs are critical for maintaining housing growth in Greater Center City, and a more favorable tax structure would encourage job growth, but even more immediate is the need to secure adequate and reliable funding for the city’s public schools.
The Center City District, a private-sector organization dedicated to making Center City Philadelphia clean, safe and attractive, is committed to maintaining Center City’s competitive edge as a regional employment center, a quality place to live, and a premier regional destination for dining, shopping and cultural attractions. Find us at www.centercityphila.org and on Facebook and Twitter.