Center City District and the PHI

Last week, the Center City District (CCD) released Housing Development in Perspective: 2018, which examines housing development in Greater Center City—an area that has expanded as the “downtown” has grown. Greater Center City is now considered the area bounded by the two rivers and Girard Avenue on the north and Tasker Street to the south. At this time last year, the real estate community remarked on the record-setting volume of construction taking place in Center City throughout 2016. CCD’s most recent report shows that 2017 had another exceptional year for residential development, with 2,650 new apartments, single family homes, and condos under construction within the Center City borders. Check out the report for more detail on the construction pipeline in Center City and a comprehensive look at the various residential product types and their performance across Center City neighborhoods.

In the report, you’ll find that ESI’s Philadelphia Housing Index (PHI) was utilized to show the percent change in house prices from 2000 to 2017, specifically within the Center City District geography. It will come as no surprise that the PHI shows a Center City market that has not only recovered since the Recession but continues to perform exceedingly well. For this month’s blog we wanted to visualize how the PHI has increased across Center City, and also demonstrate how that growth has expanded beyond what is traditionally considered downtown Philadelphia.

You’ll notice that back in 2000, the Center City East had the greatest density of higher valued single family homes, with a narrow corridor of higher valued homes moving west. By 2010, the center of gravity for the city’s highest PHI had moved west and also north towards the Art Museum area. Since then, the PHI heat map shows how homes not only in the core of downtown Philadelphia have increased in value, but also those areas that we keep talking about, like Point Breeze and Northern Liberties. Driving the increasing PHI in the extended Center City neighborhoods is the ongoing development activity, with nearly 1,000 housing units under development in the southwest portion of Center City—thanks in part to the 300+ Lincoln Square apartment project at Broad and Washington, and another 360 single family homes currently under construction in that section of the city. To the north, nearly 1,900 new housing units—predominantly apartments but also condos and single family homes—are underway. For a closer look at the housing boom in the expanded Center City area, take a look again at CCD’s most recent housing report, which includes a description of recent completions as well as asking rents and sale prices across the Center City area.

Gina Lavery is an Associate Director at Econsult Solutions. Gina focuses and leads projects on market research and analysis for the Greater Philadelphia area.



Jing Liu is a Senior Research Analyst at Econsult Solutions. She specializes in spatial analysis, quantitative analysis, and data visualization. Prior to joining ESI in 2016, Jing received her Master’s in City Planning and Urban Spatial Analytics from the University of Pennsylvania.


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