Housing report

5 takeaways from a report on housing in downtown Philadelphia

The number of residents walking downtown returned to pre-pandemic levels at the end of 2021, showing the resilience of the downtown residential segment, according to the annual Downtown District Housing Report released Tuesday.

The greater downtown area – from river to river and from Girard Avenue to Tasker Street – has been the fastest growing residential section of Philadelphia for the past two decades, by downtown area, which promotes the success of the city center. Its population has increased by 38% during this period.

“Over the past two decades, downtown land use has diversified, residential downtown geography has expanded, housing unit sizes have increased, new apartment buildings and condos featured upgraded amenities, while retail and dining offerings in the sprawling and adjacent neighborhoods began to approach those available. downtown, Paul Levy, president of the downtown district, said in a statement. “The pandemic appears to have accelerated these trends.”

But, he said, given the relationship between the city’s economy and the well-being of residents, even though the city has seen a “substantial” rebound in 2021, “there is still work to be done. do to achieve a full recovery”.

In its report, the Center City District said Philadelphia needs to do more to retain the people it has attracted and ensure that development and construction industries and those benefiting from reinvestment in neighborhoods across the city ​​reflect the demographics of the city.

In 2020, the Center City core had a population of 69,433; the greater city center had a population of 202,100.

Here are some takeaways from Tuesday’s report:

Citywide, more than 6,400 homes were completed in 2021, according to the Center City District. Of those, 28% were in the Greater Downtown area and 62% in the area that includes the Greater Downtown area and adjacent areas of North and South Philadelphia. This combined area represents 16% of the city’s territory.

It’s a trend the area has seen for nine years, according to the Center City District. Nearly three in four downtown households lived in apartments in 2021. The rest of the greater downtown area was more evenly split between renters and homeowners.

Last year, only 5% of new homes built in the greater downtown area were single-family homes. Meanwhile, 95% – 1,689 units – were apartments, mostly in buildings just outside the city center proper. A greater share of homes built in 2020 were single-family units.

The View at Old City at 401 Race St. accounted for 216 of 267 apartments completed in the downtown core in 2021.

None of the units built in 2020 and 2021 were condominiums.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf ordered a halt to construction in March 2020 in a broad attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Construction resumed in a limited capacity in the city on May 1 of that year and has resumed ever since.

In 2021, housing completion was about 360 less than the approximately 2,140 completed in 2019 in the greater downtown area and only 57 units less than the 2,240 completed in adjacent neighborhoods.

The proposed development has been spurred, in part, by the start of the phasing out of the 10-year tax allowance for new construction at the end of 2021. Permits for new residential construction in the greater city center in December 2021 more than doubled compared to November. November’s permit count was roughly double that of October.

READ MORE: Philadelphia planning officials expect more major real estate projects in 2022 despite partial expiration of property tax relief

As of December 31, 17,279 homes were on offer or under construction in the greater downtown area, according to permits data from the Department of Licensing and Inspections. That’s half of the city’s total number.

And that’s triple the number of units on hold at the end of 2020 and quadruple the number at the end of 2019, according to the Center City District.

The greatest concentration of proposed units was in the 19123 postcode in Northern Liberties and Fishtown.

Core Center City had 4,365 units on hold at the end of 2021, compared to 1,386 units on hold at the end of 2020.

Five developments being built in the city center will result in 1,409 additional units: the Laurel, Arthaus, Riverwalk, Cathedral Square and 12+ Sansom.

According to the Center City District, job growth, college students and recent graduates, and large populations of millennials, empty parents, and retirees have driven housing demand in the downtown area.

Core Center City’s population is 44% residents between the ages of 20 and 34. About 20% of the population is between 35 and 54 years old. People aged 65 and over represent 18% of the population.

Greater Downtown residents are 62% white, 15% black, 11% Asian, 7% Hispanic and 5% other, according to the Downtown District’s analysis of 2020 census data. Over the past two In recent decades, the share of Hispanic and Asian residents of the greater downtown area has increased, while the black population has declined.

Nearly 80% of downtown residents had a bachelor’s degree or higher in 2019.