What comes to mind when you think of Philadelphia? City of brotherly love, Declaration of Independence or Philadelphia 76ers? Well-known for its cultural landscape, Philadelphia now is turning its focus toward cutting-edge thinking and transforming as a modern metropolitan city.
It is the sixth most populous city (1.57 million) in the country. The median age is 34.6, with about 31.2% of the population holding a bachelor’s degree or higher. The diverse economy continues to create more jobs for its residents and contribute to a historically low unemployment rate at 4.0% this May (down from 6.5% last year).
Location advantage and the dynamics of demographics and economy contributed to the steady growth of the real estate market in Philly in the past 5 years, and we anticipate an even stronger performance in the years to come impacted by 3 major macro Socio-economic drivers.
Driver #1: Philly is now home to the next-gen national innovation hub of life science, bringing in significant talent inflows and high profile job opportunities.
Philadelphia is famous for having a wealth of research facilities and academic societies on its doorstep. The University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University located in its neighborhood of University City will be transformed into a research-oriented residential and commercial district with high-growth companies and technology and creative start-ups. Life science will be the focus of the University City’s future take-off.
Near the University City, Temple University, another famous university with the largest student population in Philadelphia, also strives for innovation in healthcare to introduce robotics and AI technology to clinical practice. The research power brought by these universities collectively, especially after the pandemic, positioned Philadelphia as a rising national innovation hub.
Over the past 10 years, more than $5 billion has been invested on real estate development in the University City. Ark7 now offers 3 properties in Philly, all of which are close to universities and research facilities with stable rental income.
Driver #2: As one of the host cities, Philly will have World Cup 2026™ imprinted on all aspects of its social lives, featuring an estimated $160-$620 Million in incremental economic activity and a rising real estate market.
Philadelphia has been the perfect destination to live for sports fans since it is one of thirteen cities that hosts teams in the “Big Four” major sports leagues¹ in North America.
Being one of the 11 Host Cities for FIFA World Cup 2026™ in the U.S. will present Philadelphia with a once-in-a-generation opportunity to shine on the world stage with millions of visitors and billions of fans watching from the globe.
According to a study done by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), individual host cities of FIFA World Cup 2026™ would receive approximately $160 – $620 million in incremental economic activity. Philadelphia could expect to see more job opportunities and incremental worker earnings, especially in the city’s infrastructure, transportation, retail and hospitality business, and improvement of the living environment.
International sport games often bring a positive impact on the property market of the host country or city as well. In 2012, London was elected to host the Olympics and the price of property in the city increased by 26% prior to the Games, and this continued after the Games. A similar trend is expected in Philly when 2026 approaches.
Driver #3: The city’s vision for sustainability and exceptional living quality has been outlined in Philadelphia2035, Philly’s comprehensive 20-year development plan, and is projected to bring 700,000 new residents to inhabit the city in about 10 years.
The plan is created by The Philadelphia City Planning Commission that aims to shape Philadelphia’s future through stakeholder input and extensive research. The plan analyzes and implements strategies to ensure the city’s 18 planning districts experience long-term sustainability and competitiveness on the global stage.
A strong metropolitan center, diverse neighborhoods, and industry-legacy areas have been identified as three areas on which Philadelphia’s physical development can grow.
Philadelphia2035 is currently organized around three big themes: Thrive, Connect, and Renew. Thrive focuses on economic development issues to address housing, jobs and vacant land to help Philadelphia build healthy neighborhoods and to create jobs and bring new companies to the city or grow existing ones. Connect pays attention to public transportation and utilities to improve the subway, buses, trolleys, and trains and to adapt utilities for more users and better energy consumption. Renew emphasizes nature and history in the city to expand parks and trails for residents’ recreation and to improve the city’s sidewalks, parks, and public spaces.
The integral to the plan is the growing jobs across all sectors and 700,000 more people are projected to inhabit the city by 2035, which will create more demand for housing and boost the real estate market development in Philadelphia in the long term horizon.
The 3 macro socio-economic drivers will likely make Philadelphia an even stronger renters market, where currently 46% of households rent instead of own their primary residence. A few key indicators further help us zoom into Philadelphia’s existing real estate market and allow investors better understand its long-term investment potential.
Philadelphia is a market where investors can find exceptional rent-to-sales ratio, especially when compared to nearby northeast cities like New York or Washington D.C. The rent-to-sales ratio for Philadelphia in June 2022 is 0.63% (median rent divided by median home value), higher than the national average(0.46%), New York (0.39%) and Washington D.C. (0.31%).
The current median sales price is $289.9K (6.66% 5-year CAGR), and the current median rent is $1,852 (4.11% 5-year CAGR). The fact that the sales price is not overly-heated here gives bigger appreciation potential in the future. Sale-to-List Price Ratio in recent three years is over 99% and the Median Days on Market reduced to 32 days from 49 days compared to the same time in 2020.
(data source: redfin.com and zillow.com)
Philadelphia is in general considered very affordable to rent and to buy. Its rent-to-income ratio is well at national average level at 26% in 2020 (median rent as a percentage of median household income). Philly’s Housing Affordability Index (HAI) is 217 in 2020, indicating that a family earning the median income has more than enough income (117x more²) to qualify for a mortgage loan on a median-priced home.
Last but not least, Pennsylvania is a landlord-friendly state with no state-imposed rent control or limit. Legally landlords could exercise rights to evict a tenant who fails to pay rent on time after 10 days, a rental policy investors should keep an eye on.
Ark7 now offers 3 properties in Philadelphia with high monthly cash distribution and appreciation prospects to grow your investment portfolio and hedge inflation.
(Photo of T1)
(Photo of T2)
(Photo of D2)
T1 was first offered to investors and sold out in just 30 hours. We then acquired T2 and D2 to market in response to the popularity of Philadelphia, they are now open to invest.
Sign up today to seize the investment opportunity in Philly.
¹These major sports teams are the Philadelphia Phillies of Major League Baseball (MLB), the Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League (NFL), the Philadelphia 76ers of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the Philadelphia Flyers of the National Hockey League (NHL).
²Housing Affordability Index (HAI) is provided by National Association of Realtors, an index of 100 means that a family with the median income has exactly enough income to qualify for a mortgage on a median-priced home.
A composite HAI of 120.0 means a family earning the median family income has 120% of the income necessary to qualify for a conventional loan covering 80 percent of a median-priced existing single-family home, assuming a 20 percent down payment