Tag Archives: neighborhood

Philadelphia Housing Quarterly Market Update: Q1 2014

Philadelphia’s Housing Continues to Exhibit Bipolar Symptoms in 2014 Q1  by Kevin Gillen

Prices and sales continue to rise in affluent neighborhoods, but decrease or remain flat in others.

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April 14, 2014: Although it has been two years since Philadelphia house prices hit their post-recession bottom, its recovery has not only proceeded in fits and starts, but has also been unevenly—and inequitably—spread across the City’s neighborhoods. The latest stats continue to confirm this trend, indicating improved market conditions in either relatively high-income or gentrifying areas, but continued stagnation or even decline in the rest of the City. The average house value in Philadelphia declined by 4% in Q1, according to the latest data from the City’s Recorder of Deeds. However, this citywide average blends price increases in some neighborhoods with price decreases in others.

 

House prices generally increased in Philadelphia’s more affluent or revitalizing neighborhoods, but fell in most remaining parts of the City, with the poorest neighborhoods experiencing the largest declines. From smallest to largest, the average change in house prices by neighborhood in Q1 were: West Philadelphia (-17.5%), North Philadelphia (-12.9%), Kensington/Frankford (-6.1%), Upper Northeast Philadelphia (-5.9%), Lower Northeast Philadelphia (-5.7%), Northwest Philadelphia (-2.2%), South Philadelphia (+2.5%), University City (+2.7%) and Center City/Fairmount (+6.8%).

 

The median house price in Philadelphia fell to $110,000 in Q1, a 13% decrease from $127,000 in the previous quarter.

 

Home sales volume continued to increase this past quarter on a seasonally-adjusted basis, although activity remains relatively skewed towards the higher-priced vicinities of the City. There were 3,148 arms-length transactions in Q1, up from 2,849 a year ago and up from 2,503 in their post-recession low three years ago. While sales activity is trending positively, overall volume still remains below its historic average of approximately 3,800 sales per quarter. Notably, however, sales of million-dollar homes continue to run well above their historic average, providing further evidence that Philadelphia’s housing recovery remains skewed towards the upper segment of the market.

 

Although price changes remain varied across neighborhoods, this quarter’s citywide average decline has returned Philadelphia’s house price index to near its post-recession low of two years ago. Currently, the index has a value of 375.4, which is only slightly above its value of 372.0 in 2012 Q2.

 

Inventories of homes listed for sale also continued their decline in Q1. Currently, there are 6,798 homes listed for sale in the city, which is very close to the pre-bubble historic average of approximately 6,000, and down significantly from its peak of over 12,000 back in 2006. This decline in surplus inventory combined with the upward trend in sales activity should provide some optimism that supply and demand are continuing to move towards being back in balance with each other.

 

To what extent this quarter’s mixed numbers may be attributable to the adverse effects of an exceptionally cold polar vortex-induced winter is unclear. However, while some neighborhoods in Philadelphia appear to be in full resurgence, the lack of citywide price appreciation stands in marked contrast to those of most other U.S. cities.

 

According to Case-Shiller’s house price indices for the twenty largest U.S. cities, price recovery remains strong and steady in most other cities, compared to Philadelphia’s variance and unevenness. That Philadelphia’s recovery will continue in this way for the near future is supported by the most recent house price forecast from Zillow, which is projecting Philadelphia’s house prices to rise only 1.3% over the course of the next twelve months, while forecasting a 3% increase for the U.S. as a whole.

 

 

 

 

 

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Need A Faster Way to Travel Around Philadelphia? Hop on a Bike!

Coming Fall 2014 you will start to see many more bikes traveling these city streets. The city has committed millions of dollars in capital funds to this Bike Share project that may have you rethink how you get around. Their goal is to implement the Bike Share in zones of Center City and surrounding neighborhoods. When the project is at completion they hope to see between 150-200 Bike Share stations docking nearing 1,500 bikes.

Image(Photo Source: http://www.phila.gov/bikeshare)

Bike Share will be prominent in neighborhoods such as Bella VistaQueen Village, Passyunk Square, South Philadelphia, West Philadelphia, Temple University all the way to the Navy Yard.  At the most recent Bella Vista Neighbors Association meeting, this was discussed in great detail by the Mayors Office of Transportation and Utilities as Bella Vista would have a Bike Share station implemented.

The Bike Share program wouldn’t be for your everyday bike rider. This program would be targeted at students, tourists, anyone who does not own a bike. This would become one more option of transportation similar to jumping on the bus or walking. Yearly and monthly memberships will be offered. They price comparable to other major cities with Bike Share options. A single ride could be bought for under $10.

These bikes will be large, heavy and uniquely designed for Bike Share. They will be three-speed and made with hard to replace parts hoping to deter theft. Philadelphia will become the 37th city to offer a Bike Share program. As a non-bike rider living in Center City Philadelphia (for reasons of erratic Philly drivers) I am still excited to see this change come to the city as it promotes outdoor, physical activity. Although, I would consider making one change and make the helmet policy mandatory.

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Passyunk Square is Booming!

Recently, the talk around town lies within Passyunk Square. New businesses, restaurants and events are popping up, enticing neighbors to come out and enjoy their community.

Coffee Dessert bar was pitched this week before the Passyunk Square Civic Association’s zoning committee. The idea to open a coffee shop and bakery at 12th and Ellsworth St. sure smells sweet! Serving Green Street Roaster’s coffee, this would most likely become a stop-and-go style cafe seating just over 10 people. 

1149 S. 12th St (1)

(Photo Source: passyunkpost.com)

If you are searching for more of sit and eat style restaurant, than you may be pleased to welcome Porto to the neighborhood. At 11th and Wharton, this Portuguese influenced cuisine will offer breakfast, brunch and lunch. This space was completely renovated with state of the art appliances and vibrant decor. Be sure to stop in on Saturday and Sunday from 9-5 and don’t forget to BYOB! This is formerly the site of Carmen’s Country Kitchen and if you’ve been in the neighborhood long enough you what she put the “C” in. Let’s hope Porto can leave as lasting an impression on this space – BIG shoes to fill indeed!

Porto2

(Photo Source: passyunkpost.com)

Ok, one more hot topic around the square and a celebratory one at that! Passyunk Square Civic Association is celebrating their 10th Anniversary. Their mission “neighbors helping neighbors” shines through as multiple improvements have been made for the community over the last decade. Implementing clean ups, community gardening, town watches, and school engagement, the PSCA surely has met their goal by enhancing the quality of life in Passyunk Square.

Join them Tuesday, December 3, 2013 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM at the Annunciation BVM Church Hall at South 10th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147. Food and drinks will be provided while you network and hear remarks from active community members.

(Photo Source: passyunkpost.com)

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Home Security Checklist

Here are several tips to keep your house as secure as possible:

  • Keep the shrubbery around your house trimmed. If the bushes and hedges are overgrown and tall, it provides the criminals with a perfect hiding place. You could even consider replacing them with thorny bushes or plants that deter people from walking through them. Also trim back trees so no one can climb the limbs into second floor windows/doors.
  • Keep the exterior of your home well-lit. Burglars prefer to work in the dark so they cannot be easily seen. Installing motion light sensors helps to keep these unwanted visitors away and also help you to enter your house quicker at night rather than fumbling for your keys in the dark.
  •  Get to know your neighbors. People are more likely to look out for their friends. Neighborhood watch programs are excellent at deterring crime. If your neighborhood doesn’t have one, consider starting a program in your community.
  • Make it seem like there is someone home at all times by using light and sound. Automatic timers and motion detectors can be great tools for people who are on vacation or are otherwise going to be away from their home for an extended period of time.
  • Rather than hiding an emergency key under your doormat, leave one with a friend or neighbor so it will not be easy for a potential intruder to find.
  • When you are going on vacation, have someone come over to bring in the mail and newspapers so they do not pile up and alert burglars to your absence.
  • Make sure you have locks on all your doors and windows.
  • Invest in a home security system. A home alarm that goes off when someone enters your home uninvited is one of the best ways to scare away intruders.
  • Keep your garage closed whether you are at home or not. This way, it will not be as obvious to burglars whether or not there is a car inside.
  • Document and insure your valuables so that they can be tracked and returned more easily if they are stolen
  • Be diligent about your home security. Do not slack off when it comes to protecting your home and your family. Be consistent and thorough.
  • Use bars on low level or otherwise easily accessible windows

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Storm Water Management Sets An Example in Lower Moyamensing

In the Lower Moyamensing section of Philadelphia, the Water Department has implemented their latest storm water management project. Including three local elementary schools, this project will help educate kids and the community on the importance of rain water run off and where it leads.

This project, as of now, will plant 21 trees and install under ground water infiltration trenches. These trenches will collect rain water and more water will be absorbed by the tree roots rather than sent to our sewer system. Not only will these trees provide a benefit for the community but also create much needed shade around school zones. Here’s some photos of the project so far from lomophilly.org.

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Jenks Elementary is said to be planting 18 trees around the perimeter. Our Lady of Hope School will plant one tree while Key Elementary plans for two trees. This is just the beginning of a city wide project that needs to be expanded to all neighborhoods. This provides an example and learning benefit for these elementary school kids in hopes to make a greater impact in the community in which they live.

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A Headache for Queen Village Parents May Be Relieved

In  Queen Village, parents are having trouble finding decent and reliable child care for their infants and toddlers. These families have joined long waiting lists to deal with limited options when it comes to days, activities, food and education for their children. A headache for many residents, there is a shortage and demand for childcare.

At 420 Bainbridge Street, this 4,000 square foot location used to be the Life Management Medical Center. You will soon see Natalie Renn open her second location of The Giving Tree Infant and Toddler Center…if the license comes through. Her first location was specifically for daycare and preschool in the Logan Square area of Philadelphia.

logo-infants(Image Source: thegivingtreedaycare.com)

Their focus and mission is to provide exceptional child care for infants and toddlers under trained and professional supervision. Natalie trains her employees to focus on early childhood development, communication techniques, sleeping strategies and eating patterns.

They will offer a variety of learning and physical activities including; baby and me yoga classes, an inside mini gym, a backyard for play, trips to local playgrounds and parks. Just a few weeks away, they’re expecting to open their doors October but were talking about a license from the Department of Public Welfare. Hoping we do see them open soon, we need more Natalie’s in Philadelphia!

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Magic Beyond the Gardens Gala This Saturday

This Saturday, September 21st you can join your local art crowd at the Philadelphia Magic Garden to celebrate their 5th annual Magic Beyond the Gardens Gala. From 6-10pm you can help support this annual fundraiser by purchasing a ticket and enjoying live music, dancing, a silent auction, food and an open bar. The silent auction will offer prizes to several high praised establishments in Center City. Located at 1020 South Street,  squarely between Bella Vista and Washington Square West, this event is expected to draw a crowd of near 300 locals and inspiring artists and supporters.

Image(Image Source: phillymagicgardens.org)

Philadelphia’s Magic Garden has been educating individuals of all ages for years. Offering workshops, education programs and self-guided walk throughs, this event will feature founder and artist Isaiah Zagar. So join in the fun this Saturday and help support local businesses, keep artists thriving and educate our community on the importance of art and self expression. For more information and tickets click here.

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Philadelphia Housing Market Quarterly Update Q2 2013

 Philadelphia Housing Market Picks Up in Q2.  By Kevin Guillen

Despite high-profile concerns over AVI and tax delinquencies, both sales and prices increase across the city.

July 15, 2013: After hitting bottom just over a year ago and struggling to rebound, Philadelphia’s housing market finally exhibited some signs of vitality this past spring.

The average house value in Philadelphia increased by 3.1 percent in Q2, according to the latest data from the City’s Recorder of Deeds. This increase comes on the heels of several years of bumpy declines before the market bottomed out last winter.

House price gains were generally experienced citywide, with only two exceptions. From smallest to largest, the average change in house prices by neighborhood in Q2 were: University City (-7.8%), West Philadelphia (-5.9%), Upper Northeast Philadelphia (+1.2%), Lower Northeast Philadelphia (+2.6%), Kensington/Frankford (+3.8%), Center City/Fairmount (+3.8%), Northwest Philadelphia (+3.9%), South Philadelphia (+5.4%), and North Philadelphia (+7.9%).

The median house price in Philadelphia increased to $132,000 in Q2, a 6.3% increase over the median price of $124,000 in the previous quarter and a 5.5% increase over the median price of $125,000 one year ago.

These most recent gains in house values seem to indicate that Philadelphia is finally making significant inroads in regaining the value lost since the housing bubble burst. From peak to trough, house values in Philadelphia declined an average of 21%. This quarter’s recent gains have recovered 8% of the lost value, implying that house values need to appreciate another 13% to return to their pre-bust levels.

Home sales activity also showed some gains this past quarter. There were 3,614 arms-length transactions in Q2, up from 2,849 in the previous quarter and up from 3,079 sales that took place in the same quarter last year. This was the strongest second quarter for home sales since 2010 Q2.

The recovery also appears to be becoming more democratic and widespread. While house prices and sales began to recover in the higher-end segment of the market over a year ago, this recovery had—until now—been confined to the relatively upper-income neighborhoods in Philadelphia. In most neighborhoods, prices and sales had remained stagnant. In Q2, there were 16 sales at a price point of $1m or more, up from 13 sales in Q1, and well above the quarterly average of just 9. However, the largest price jump this past spring was in North Philadelphia (+7.9%); which is historically Philadelphia’s lowest-priced and lowest-income neighborhood. Moreover, the lower-priced segment of the market also saw the biggest percentage price increase in Q2. From Q1 to Q2, the bottom fifth of the market (i.e. the 20 percent lowest-priced homes in Philadelphia) saw their average price increase from $25 per square foot to $50 per square foot; a doubling in value.

This recovery is especially notable in light of the citywide property re-assessment (known as the Actual Value Initiative, or AVI) and the increase in Philadelphia’s property tax delinquency rate; both of which were the subject of vocal criticism from many community groups, public officials and activists this past spring1. The predicted exodus of households and subsequent decline in house values that many critics contended would be the outcome of the (supposedly) flawed assessments and lax tax collection practices not only didn’t materialize, but if anything, the market seems to have largely reacted positively to both the new assessments and the City’s announced intention to improve its collection of delinquent taxes.

While Philadelphia’s long-awaited housing recovery is still lagging the recovery that is already well underway in most other U.S. cities, leading indicators continue to indicate a positive near-term outlook:

  • The average price-to-rent ratio for Philadelphia homes has begun to trend upwards again, after declining for several years since the housing bubble burst. After falling from a peak of 13.3 in 2007 to a low of 9.5 in early 2012, the ratio has since increased to 10.0. A rising price-rent ratio is typically associated with a bullish outlook on house prices.
  • The inflation-adjusted house price index has also begun to trend upwards, after declining for several years. This suggests that the recent house price gains are not just due to general price inflation in the overall macroeconomy.
  • Days-On-Market, which is the average number of days it takes for a listed home in Philadelphia to sell, is down to 70 days from its peak of 95 days just over one year ago.
  • A particularly notable threshold was crossed by the National Association of Homebuilders Housing Market Index this past spring. Based upon a scale of 0 to 100, the index recently crossed 50, indicating that for the first time since 2006, more homebuilders are optimistic than pessimistic about the near-term outlook for housing.

 An especially notable sign of improvement in Philadelphia’s housing market are the significant improvements in both the market’s housing inventory and absorption rate this past spring. After declining markedly since the market bottomed last winter, the number of home listed for sale in Philadelphia is down to approximately 8,000 from its all-time peak of just over 12,000. Such a large supply relative to demand had been placing significant downward pressure on house prices over the last several years. Moreover, the absorption rate—which measures the percent of listed homes that sell in a given period—increased sharply this past to nearly 16%, up from its all-time low of 6% two years ago. Both indicators suggest that supply and demand are returning to a relative balance that is in line with their historic averages.

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While this most recent data suggest that the long-awaited recovery is finally happening in Philadelphia, there is growing concern in many other cities that the news is actually too positive. House prices have been rebounding sharply in many other cities over the past year, at a rate that significantly exceeds not only inflation, but also their fundamentals, such as population, income and rents. Combined with an outlook for higher mortgage rates in the near term, many economists are forecasting a ‘cool down’ in housing market activity over the course of the next year. But, given that good news about housing has taken so long to arrive to Philadelphia, and that it came at a critical time in reforms to the city’s housing policy (i.e. AVI, delinquencies), it would seem that most Philadelphia households would be justified in at least momentarily savoring the good news before beginning to worry again.

 

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Murals in Queen Village

Lately, bold and bright butterflies have appeared on the wall at 4th and Fulton. This mural art project by Conrad Booker, “Harmony and the Windows of Curiosity” show butterflies symbolizing rebirth. Queen Village wants this wall to become a destination for neighbors and a remembrance for the former burial ground at Weccacoe Playground that we recently touched on in our previous post.

QVmural-1024x306(Image Source: qvna.org)

This public art project is nearing completion with one final, unique element left to add. With the help of the neighborhood and  it’s children, a three dimensional ‘window frame’ will picture toys and neighborhood kids’ handprints. Queen Village needs your support to help complete this mural project. Help by donating and encouraging pubic art projects in communities all over the country. Donate online or by check/money order to Queen Village Neighbors Association P.O. Box 63763, Philadelphia, PA 19147.

If you happen to be strolling through Queen Village this week, head out to September Yappy Hour with your four legged friends! Thursday September 12, 5:30-7:30pm join QVK9 at Kennett (848 s. 2nd Street) and enjoy half off all draft beers, glasses of wine and pizza specials! Last month was a hit so they do suggest to RSVP online.

1233531_598737966845783_988114760_n(Image Source: qvna.org)

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Garden Greens

Looking to get outside and enjoy this breath of fresh air? This weekend you can travel to South Philadelphia and partake in the Garden Tours, a garden and groundscape project by South Philadelphia High School.

This is the third year that the South Philadelphia Food Co-op has held their garden tours. Do you often admire the blooming window boxes you pass on the street? Now you have the chance to stop and stare.

Covering south Philadelphia streets between 11th and 17th, Washington to Snyder you can admire and awe over the various garden skills and green spaces Philly has to offer. Join in the tour and breath the fresh air.

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(Image Source: uwishunu.com)

Sponsors including Ultimo, R5 Productions, South Philly Tap room and more all contribute in these tours with refreshments and specials. Purchase a $20 ticket today or $25 tomorrow. Join South Philadelphia Food Co-op from 1-5pm and don’t forget to stop and smell the roses!

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