Confidence and Continued Demand for Center City Real Estate.
In a survey conducted by the Center City District (pdf) in July 2009 81% of Center City residents remain confident about the future of downtown Philadelphia.
- Despite the recession, Philadelphia has experienced a much lower decline in employment than either the region or the nation. Philadelphia has been buffered by the fact that 36% of the workforce is employed in educational and health care institutions.
- While Philadelphia is still losing population, Center City has been growing for over 40 years. Even as households have gotten smaller, population density has been increasing. Since 2000, growth accelerated as seven out of eight downtown ZIP codes experienced an increase in population. Driven by the 10-year tax abatement that was approved in 1997, Center City has added 12,121 new units of housing.
- In the neighborhoods surrounding the central business district demand remains strong since none of these communities are confronting a challenge of over-supply. Townhouses priced below $400,000, are selling well, as first time homebuyers, prompted by the $8,000 federal tax credit, are connecting with willing sellers who have adjusted their prices downward.
- Center City Philadelphia has succeeded in attracting well educated, knowledge-workers — young professionals and empty-nesters — a key objective of development professionals in every American city. Twenty-eight percent of all respondents are ages 25 to 34, while 39% are over 55. Older, more affluent households are concentrated in the higher-priced housing in the core of downtown, with the largest proportion of individuals over 65 found in ZIP codes 19102, 19103 and 19107.
Like the national market, Center City housing production peaked in 2006 with almost 2,000 new units delivered to the market that year and then slowed in 2007 and 2008. The financial crisis of September 2008 caused production to plummet as financing for major for-sale projects almost completely dried up. Still, from Northern Liberties and Fairmount to the neighborhoods south of South Street, the construction of townhouses, rental units and high-rise buildings continue, albeit at a lower volume than in previous years.