2016 was an exemplary year for the development of new apartments in Center City: 2,506 new units were created for the market, surpassing the previous record of 2,168 in 2013. The downtown area saw a surge in apartment and commercial/residential developments, while outlying areas saw an increase in single-family homes and other multi-family units. These impressive numbers make Greater Center City the most thriving neighborhood in Philadelphia.
The new housing developments serve the growing Greater Center City population, which increased 19% in recent years. Demand for rental properties has soared, leading to an increase of 73% in new apartment developments. Of that increase, six projects have dominated the scene, allotting 1,331 of the 1,833 new units to market. Simultaneously, single-family homes have also increased in production, with 528 added to the market in 2016.
The development of apartments in Center City is most impressive, with 4,167 apartments in the process of being built — mainly in the areas around City Hall, in Old City and surrounding Logan Square. Aside from the rental market, 1,212 condos and single-family homes are under construction, mainly in the Point Breeze neighborhood.
Amenities and Walkability
As Greater Center City takes advantage of the population’s desire to live in a diverse and walkable community, more and more people are choosing to live and work within the limits of Greater Center City. A recent survey shows that 40% of Greater Center City inhabitants also work near the downtown area, compared to 79% of suburban residents commuting into Greater Center City. In fact, approximately 40% of Greater Center City residents do not own a car, since they can easily walk to work, school, restaurants and other entertainment facilities. WalkScore.com gave a rank of 90 or higher for every neighborhood within Greater Center City, meaning the community is very favorable for those who choose to walk everywhere.
Greater Center City has done a great job of ensuring that every resident in each life stage has the ability to remain within city limits. A mix of apartment, condo, townhouses, vintage living, and new construction is available for every budget and wish for amenities. Additionally, some new construction even builds in gyms, pools, garages, bike-sharing, and meeting rooms into the building to further accommodate the needs and wants of its residents.
Everyone, from millennials to retirees, are represented within the neighborhoods of Greater Center City. The area attracts millennials at a rate higher than the rest of the region, but it also attracts those over the age of 60 at a higher rate than the rest of the region. Approximately 40% of Greater Center City residents are millennials (compared with 20% of the region’s population), and the Core Center City area accounts for 46% millennials. As this generation tends to put off owning a home, they are the core population surging the need for affordable rental living.
Due to the large millennial population, not many children under the age of 18 live in Greater Center City. Seven percent of homes in Core Center City report having a child, while 18% do in the other neighborhoods of Greater Center City. This poses a challenge for the city as it looks to maintain the millennial population as they begin having children.
As Greater Center City enjoys an apartment boom, it must work to retain its residents by ensuring jobs continue to grow and schools become more well-funded to continually support the housing developments of recent years.