The Center City District/Central Philadelphia Development Corporation’s report Monitoring Philadelphia’s Economic Recovery, focuses on key economic indicators including construction activity and housing market trends in Philadelphia

By Jay Goldstein

A recent report from the Center City District/Central Philadelphia Development Corporation, Monitoring Philadelphia’s Economic Recovery, focuses on key economic indicators including construction activity and housing market trends in Philadelphia. This report has some interesting findings and conclusions.

CONSTRUCTION

  • Due to Covid – 19, on March 19 the Governor suspended nearly all construction in the City. In May, construction restarted. Total construction-related permits issued by the Department of Licenses and Inspections decreased by 39% between February and March and dropped an additional 67% between March and April. Since April, permit activity has increased each month. August permits totaled 3,979, 27% below August 2019.

HOUSING MARKET

  • According to Redfin, despite an understandable reduction in residential sales in April and May, housing market activity has rebounded solidly, with total sales in August only 5% below last year’s level.
  • Despite the pandemic, housing prices have consistently increased from 2019 levels. The median residential sale price in August was $242,000, 10% above the 2019 level.
  • However, overall economic repercussions from the pandemic are negatively impacting the rental market. According to the most recent data collected from September 2 thru September 14 from the Census Bureau’s PULSE survey, 17.3 % of reporting renters missed their payment for their last month’s rent in the US, compared to 13.3% in Pennsylvania, and 12.7% in the Philadelphia metropolitan area. The percentage of renters who deferred their rent was 2.2% for the US, 1.8% for Pennsylvania, and 3.7% in the Philadelphia region.
  • Regarding owners of rental housing, 13.0% in the Philadelphia metropolitan area are behind on their mortgage payments compared to 10.3% in Pennsylvania and 9.8% for the US.