Here’s Where The Best
Real Estate Deals Are !

By Rory G. McGlasson
& Joe Shaeheeli


Philadelphia real estate may be red hot, but not as hot as in those areas around the city least looked at by speculators and investors.
That's because the word is only now getting out that once distressed neighborhoods are no longer that, and even better, the areas around them are becoming attractive for new residential and commercial development.
Making this happen has been the six-year effort of the Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA), together with the City's Neighborhood Transformation Initiative. They have literally turned those distressed areas into valuable real estate.
Two independent studies conducted by Applied Real Estate Analysis, Inc. and Econsult Corp. show that PHA's multi-year real estate development program is bringing increased property value and optimism to formerly distressed neighborhoods.
The studies show that property values from 1999 to 2004 have grown by 142 percent, more than 2.5 times the citywide rate of 55 percent. In contrast, values fell in neighborhoods surrounding three older PHA developments studied while other older sites showed modest growth.
"The studies are evidence that PHA's target investment strategy is working, according to PHA Executive Director Carl Greene. "What we see from these numbers is that our program is reviving neighborhoods well beyond the boundaries of PHA properties, but what the studies can't show is the tremendous change in pride and attitude that these transformations inspire."
The Econsult analysis estimated that property values around the six PHA sites examined: Richard Allen Homes, Cambridge Homes, Courtyard at Riverview, Martin Luther King Homes, Falls Ridge and Greater Grays Ferry Estates rose by over $200 million over a five year period.
Green said this has happened because "PHA's new sites are mixed-income communities, part of the agency's strategy to bring more stability and value to neighborhoods".
"These areas appreciated in value from the time PHA announced plans for demolition through completion of construction. Values in these same areas had stagnated in the year's preceeding PHA's redevelopment," according to Econsult report author Stephen Mullin.
The study shows the Richard Allen Homes and Cambridge Plaza rose faster than the City as a whole. In 1995 occupied units were worth an average $45,913. Under new construction in 1999 they were worth an average $85,465. Post-construction in 2004 saw a rise of an average of $131,375 per unit. 103 houses were sold in 2004. In nine years values have risen by 186.15 percent. This is 88.3% above the average City price.
Homes sales within the Martin Luther King and Courtyard at Riverview rose faster than the City as a whole, too.
In 1995 occupied units were worth an average $55,449. Pre-demolition prices in in 1999 averaged out at $70,220. While under construction in 1999 through 2004 they have risen to an average of $128,103.
4,249 units have sold in the last five years, while under construction. In nine years values have risen by 131 percent. This is 70.8 percent above the average City price.
Home sales within the Greater Grays Ferry (Tasker) area actually dipped compared with the city. However, this once blighted area has risen in value on its own. In 1995 occupied units were worth an average $30,394. In 2002 Pre-demolition prices averaged out at $39,967. While under construction in 2003-04 they dropped slightly to $38,997. But 668 units were still sold in 2003-04 and prices have risen 28.3 percent in nine years.
Homes within the Falls Ridge (Schuykill) increased in value ten fold. The study shows that in 1995 occupied units were worth an average $59,532. Under construction in 1999 they were worth an average $87,299. However, post-construction in 2004 saw a rise to an average of $141,483 per unit. 247 homes were sold in 2004. In nine years values have risen by 137.7 percent. This is 33.7 percent above the average City price.