Pew’s latest check-up on the City of Brotherly Love reveals a lot of things that Philadelphians already knew: Both the housing and rental markets are hot, hot, hot.
But what about other housing aspects of Philly? Are Philadelphians making enough money to keep up with the rental boom? Has the city’s stark poverty rate changed even a little?
In Pew’s new report “Philadelphia 2017: The State of the City,” researchers take a deep dive into multiple aspects of the city from population and demographics to transportation to job growth. Here are the five big takeaways from the report’s state on housing.
1. Median housing prices have risen and home sales hit a major milestone in 2016
Using research conducted by Drexel Lindy Institute’s Kevin Gillen, Pew reported that median home prices were 38 percent higher in 2016 than in 2010, rising from $103,000 in 2010 to $142,000. As the chart above reveals, some of the biggest hikes in home prices occurred in Greater Center City, the River Wards, and South Philly.
Interestingly, the biggest change in home prices over this six-year period occurred in the Kensington zip code of 19122. There, the median housing price jumped a whopping 94 percent, from $80,000 to $155,000.
2. There were more home sales in 2016 than any year post-Great Recession.
When it comes to home sales, Philly still hasn’t met its pre-recession levels in 2006. But as the above chart reveals, sales have been on the steady upswing since 2012. That trend is likely to continue: A recent Billy Penn article lifted the veil on Philly’s crazy housing market and bidding wars that have emerged throughout the city this past season.
3. There’s still a big need for affordable housing
This chart shows that there’s still a great need for affordable housing in Philly, although the researchers note that the waiting list has decreased “sharply.” Still, that’s mostly because the Philadelphia Housing Authority removed people from the list that they couldn’t get in touch with, they note.
It’s also worth noting that Philly has lost 20 percent of its affordable housing stock between 2000 and 2014. Couple that with the fact that the city’s remaining affordable restrictions are set to expire in the next five years, and that could mean that this chart may look a little different.
4. The rent is too damn high, even for Philly
Yes, it’s still possible to find a good deal on an apartment in Philly, compared to other major U.S. cities like New York and San Francisco. However, a majority of Philly renters still pay at least 30 percent of their annual income on rent. In other cities, that’s a case of just purely high rents. But for Philly, that 56.4 percent of cost-burdened renters is because the city’s median income is still quite low, though growing, at $41,233.
5. Homes in Philly are “substantially” more affordable than in other cities.
You don’t have to earn the big bucks to be able to afford a median-priced home in Philly—that’s the good news. The bad news is that although you need $53,422 to be able to afford to buy here, the city’s median income is $41,233.
However, that number has been growing steadily in recent years. The researchers write, “Over the last two years, Philadelphia’s median income has grown faster in percentage terms than those of all of the comparison cities, with the exception of Washington.”