Philadelphia Housing Market Gems
Driving through South Philly you could be forgiven for thinking you were in a war zone, at least from the perspective of this out-of-towner. But turn a corner onto Christian, Fitzwater Street, Kater, Greys Ferry, and suddenly homes are well-kempt, flags are flying and tree-lined streets reflect optimistic times ahead. Naval Square, once the frontier of investment, is now being surrounded by upgraded properties.
South of Christian, rubbish flutters around the streets like modern day tumbleweed. At times whole blocks seem to have been raised to the ground. A sad brown building catches the eye. It has a smashed window and piles of furniture are falling through the hole, about to tumble onto the street. It makes you wonder how long before some bored punk accidentally empties lighter fluid over the remains and tries the flint for the last time before running across wasteland to safety.
The general air is depressed. This lack of care, lack of hope, lack of pizzazz that is supposed to differentiate Americans from boring Europeans, hangs like a grey cloud over the neighborhood. Even these optimistic eyes fail to see through the gloom, as every street corner seems to sport overweight sloppily dressed males of all ethnicity, one leg bent back resting against the wall of a store, chatting lazily about the game and the latest gossip on the 'hood.
It is quite shocking to hear that just a few years ago, prim and tidy Fitzwater was in about the same condition. Local realtor, Ingrid Kernstock, explains that for her, it was a no-brainer to move into the area 3 years ago. The evidence of gentrification in full swing was clear to be seen. 3 story wrecks, under-priced for decades in comparison to uptown New York, were going for $100,000. The tone of the area was improving by the month as developers and enterprising residents began upgrading the properties. And now, Fitzwater and co is a good bet for people forced out the New York property market by escalating prices. With easy access to freeways and trains, this area is a gem for commuters travelling to the pricey Big Apple.
There is further evidence of gentrification in Fitzwater. A few condos are going up, a sure sign that house property prices have risen.
Despite the media rumblings of a slowing property market, (and realtors are definitely upset at no longer being able to bid up prices between interested parties), the pace of change and improvements is still going strong in this part of Philadelphia. Contractors still re-model at a frenzied rate. Businesses are setting up shop too: Turkish and Mexican restaurants, swanky bars, coffee shops. And residents do their bit too, to make this part of town a great place to live. They do not tolerate dirty sidewalks; bored adolescents don't loiter with intent to do mischief for grins; it is a nice neighborhood.
So, if you take note of an indepth study on property prices for the coming couple of years, you will see that Philadelphia is not included in the correction that will be seen in Florida and California and the rest of the upmarket North East. Philadelphia started at a heavy discount, so you could do worse than buy into an area where it can only get better in the next few years.
See past the occasional rehabs-in-waiting in the immediate vicinity, they will be dealt with as gentrification continues apace. The putrefaction of the South of the city is being pushed aside at a great rate of knots. Cash in now on a house to call home for years to come, before they get too pricey! Satisfaction almost comes guaranteed!