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How real estate websites define Fishtown’s boundaries

And how that can affect how much you pay to live there

Real estate listing sites overestimate the boundaries of Fishtown by a longshot, with some saying the neighborhood is two times its actual size, according to a new analysis.

The report, compiled by real estate analytics site Neighborhood X, looked at Fishtown Neighbor’s Association official boundary map and compared it to real estate listing sites including Redfin, Trulia, and Zillow.

Here’s what they found:

Fishtown’s official map, highlighted in gray, says the neighborhood is 0.79 square miles. Here’s how big the real estate sites say Fishtown is:

  • Redfin: 1.61 square miles
  • Trulia: 1.25 square miles
  • Zillow: 0.98 square miles

If you’re looking at listings on Redfin, note that they include the neighborhoods of Kensington, Olde Richmond, and West Kensington. A recent search of Fishtown listings showed that of 152 listings, only 45 percent of them were actually located in the neighborhood. The rest were in Kensington and Olde Richmond.

Trulia, meanwhile, includes Northern Liberties within their Fishtown listings. In fact, their boundary map doesn’t even include half of Fishtown.

Zillow seems to be most closely in line with the neighborhood’s actual boundaries, though it includes Olde Richmond, as well.

This isn’t just a Philly phenomenon. The same was found in certain Boston and NYC neighborhoods.

Does this variation really matter in the end? Sure. One Curbed reader who lives in East Kensington recently commented on this, saying that it "builds resentment about a neighborhood when you’re trying to relabel it with something different than it is."

On a financial side, Neighborhood X’s Constantine Valhouli says it can affect how much homebuyers pay to live in the neighborhood. "When different portals have very different neighborhood boundaries, especially when these change over time, different sets of properties are included or excluded from the analysis," Valhouli says. "And this can result in very different averages."

When that happens, it makes it a lot harder for homebuyers, sellers, and renters to make informed decisions.