FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PHILADELPHIA (February 22, 2022) – For the last two decades, Greater Center City has been the fastest growing residential section of both Philadelphia and the entire region. The events of 2020 seemed to challenge this momentum, however, as speculation rose that residents in all large cities might abandon downtowns for good.
Yet, the center held.
After a temporary dip in population, as many college students returned home and some owners of second homes relocated, the number of downtown residents on sidewalks in Center City had rebounded to 2019 levels by the end of 2021. Rents and home sale prices held up and the number of newly-permitted residential units in both Center City and citywide reached the highest point in decades at the end of 2021.
“In the last two decades, land-use downtown diversified, the geography of residential Center City expanded, housing unit size increased, new apartment and condo buildings featured enhanced amenities, while retail and restaurant offerings in extended and adjacent neighborhoods began to approach those available downtown. The pandemic appears to have accelerated these trends,” CCD President Paul R. Levy said.
“At the same time, the absence of office workers and hotel guests temporarily reduced vitality and job opportunities in the Center City core, impacting both those who live there and residents throughout the city who rely on service jobs downtown. The economy of the city and the well-being of its residents are closely intertwined and, while the rebound in 2021 was substantial, there still is work to do to achieve full recovery,” he said.
For a narrative of trends, along with explanatory charts, download the new 20-page housing report from Center City District/Central Philadelphia Development Corp. (CCD/CPDC), The Center Holds: Residential Resiliency 2022.
Among the report’s findings:
“Successful cities attract those with education, talent and skills who can live anywhere, while providing opportunities for those whose choices historically have been limited. Businesses form, grow and are drawn to places where they find talent; talent is attracted to cities that offer a great quality of life and career prospects. This virtuous circle has driven population and job growth downtown in the last two decades, while creating a widening ring of opportunity,” CCD President Paul Levy added.
“Philadelphia thus must focus more on retaining those we have attracted, as they build families and advance careers, while ensuring that the development and construction industry better reflects the demography of the city. That means faster job growth, a more competitive business environment and tax structure for firms large and small, facilitating the growth of Black and brown businesses and continued investment in public schools. It means overcoming the false choices that divide so much contemporary discourse: at the local level, greater prosperity that broadens the tax base is the fastest path to progressive goals; without growth and rising incomes, there can be no equity nor upward mobility. The housing success story of Center City – job growth driven by improving quality of life and economic opportunity – needs to be adapted and replicated citywide,” he said.
To read and download the report, visit CCD’s research page: https://centercityphila.org/research-reports/the-center-holds-residential-resiliency-2022.
March 7, 2022 | Report: Center City housing rebounds to pre-pandemic levels, defying expectations, KYW Newsradio
February 24, 2022 | Center City housing rebounding from pandemic lows, Axios Philadelphia
February 23, 2022 | 5 takeaways from a housing report focused on Center City, The Philadelphia Inquirer
February 22, 2022 | After some pandemic setbacks, Center City apartment market regains momentum, Philadelphia Business Journal
Center City District, a private-sector organization dedicated to making Center City Philadelphia clean, safe and attractive, is committed to maintaining Center City’s competitive edge as a regional employment center, a quality place to live, and a premier regional destination for dining, shopping and cultural attractions. Find us at www.centercityphila.org and on Facebook and Twitter.