The Center City District (CCD) and Central Philadelphia Development Corporation (CPDC) have released Housing Development in Perspective: 2018, examining housing development in Greater Center City (the area between the two rivers and from Girard Avenue to Tasker Street), the balance between supply and demand, and potential impediments to Philadelphia’s revival.
Greater Center City experienced another record-setting year in 2017 with the construction of 2,650 new apartments, single-family homes and condominiums. Seventy-one percent of the units were rentals, single-family housing constituted 19.6%, and condominiums jumped to 10% of new units from just 5% one year before. Unlike 2016, which saw a significant increase in new apartment construction concentrated in the downtown core, major developments were more widely dispersed in 2017 across the extended neighborhoods of Center City. Philadelphia has expanded from a 3% share of regional housing permits in the early 1990s to a 25% share from 2010 to 2017 with Greater Center City counting for more than half of all new units in the city. Since 2000, 23,178 new residential units have been added in Greater Center City.
Despite the encouraging news, however, persistent issues must be addressed if growth is to continue. Philadelphia’s low rents in many neighborhoods are a reflection of not only the low income of local residents, but also declining population in neighborhoods that between 1970 and 2015 lost 500,000 working class and middle income residents, and saw the number of residents living at or below the poverty line increase by 100,000. Philadelphia also experienced a reduction of nearly 23,000 affordable units citywide between 2000 and 2014 due to market-driven renovation, the removal of deteriorated public housing units in Center City through the HOPE VI program, as well as continuing federal cutbacks.
What’s in the pipeline? Are demand and supply in sync? Who is moving here, and where are they living? Is housing still affordable for Philadelphians? How does Center City compare to other downtowns? Using data from city, state, and federal sources along with extensive original research, Housing Development in Perspective: 2018 looks at the answers to these questions and offers up some solutions to challenges still facing Philadelphia's residential market.
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For a full selection of Center City District reports, visit CenterCityPhila.org/research-reports.
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