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.


  • 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.


  • 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.