3 Philadelphia Real Estate Trends to Watch

From more apartment buildings to greater outdoor amenities, here are a few Philadelphia real estate trends to keep an eye out for in the coming months and years. The focus of some trends is on sustainability, so expect them to stick around.

When you think of a trend in real estate, you most likely think of passing styles or fads, like the demand for granite counters or hardwood flooring. But trends can also pertain to the structure and design of a home — and that’s where we’ve seen a few Philadelphia real estate trends cropping up lately. If you’re in the market for a new home, particularly a newly constructed home, odds are that you might see a few of these on offer.

More Multi-Family Homes

Philadelphia — particularly in the Center City area — is seeing an influx of multi-family homes, as well as apartment buildings. Many of these apartments will be in newly constructed buildings. There’s also a trend of unused buildings being converted into one- or two-bedroom apartments. For example, the site of the Wharton Street Lofts in South Philadelphia used to be the James Wilson School. While the builders could have removed all traces of the century-old school building’s former existence, they chose to preserve some features — some of the apartments even feature refined, built-in chalkboards. There’s a suggestion that some of the other unused school buildings can be converted to apartments in a similar way.

In Center City, there are more than 2,600 new apartment units in the works, the Philadelphia Business Journal reports. Another 2,700 are in the planning stages, and more than 2,000 units have already completed construction. Although that might seem like a staggering amount of new apartment units, the Business Journal notes that the demand is there, according to Center City District research.

Outdoor Amenities

At the moment, green reigns supreme in Philly. Philadelphia magazine’s Property blog breaks down the trends from the American Society of Landscape Architects’ 2014 survey: Expect to see more garden space, more outdoor structures such as decks, and more sustainable and green design across town.

While the city government is working to improve access to green space for all residents, potential buyers can help fuel the demand by tracking down homes with more outdoor amenities. Current homeowners might think to add more outdoor features to their properties.

Green Roofs

Speaking of sustainable design, one of the biggest Philadelphia real estate trends is the green roof, in which the typical roof coating is replaced with a layer of living greenery. Green roofs aren’t gardens. They’re meant to be passive installations that improve storm water drainage, but you don’t have to tend to them and you typically don’t expect to grow edible or decorative plants. Philadelphia has long been a leader in the green roof movement. In 2012, the city had installed over 200,000 green roofs and ranked fifth in Green Roofs for Healthy Cities’ list of top 20 metro regions in North America.

Green roofs are promoted by the Philadelphia Water Department and by PECO. PECO’s long been on the cutting edge when it comes to green roofs: Back in 2009, it installed a 45,000-square-foot green roof on top of its Center City headquarters. Green roofs are also showing up in the city’s newer residential buildings, including Awesometown in the Fishtown area and the Thin Flats in Northern Liberties.

These environmentally conscious initiatives are an example of Philadelphia real estate trends that not only make the city more appealing for new residents but, by focusing on sustainability, also make it a better place to live for the future.

Image Source: Flickr/Joe Mazzola

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