Mar 1, 2022 - Real Estate

Investors are buying up homes in Philly and driving more competition

Illustration of a shadowy hand looming over three row houses.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Investors snatched up 15% of homes in the Philadelphia metro last year — more than several other top U.S. metros, according to a recent Washington Post analysis.

Why it matters: The flurry of activity from investors is making Philadelphia's hot housing market even more competitive.

By the numbers: The share of homes sold to investors has ticked upward in recent years, the Post found. In 2015, 11% of the Philly metro's homes were sold to investors.

  • Last year, investors scooped up the largest percentage of homes (44%) in both the 19139 ZIP code in West Philly, which includes parts of Cobbs Creek, and 19132 in North Philly, which includes parts of Strawberry Mansion.

The big picture: Investors bought nearly 1 in 7 homes in the top U.S. metro areas last year, the most in at least 20 years, according to the Post, which used data from the realty company Redfin.

  • Black neighborhoods have been heavily targeted nationwide, according to the Post.
  • Philly's share of investor-bought homes outpaced other metros like Chicago (7%), Denver (12%) and Washington, D.C. (6%), but trailed behind Atlanta and Charlotte (25% each).

Between the lines: Investors are betting on both fast gentrifying areas, like Kensington, and long underinvested neighborhoods with majority residents of color, including portions of North and West Philadelphia.

  • In one North Philadelphia ZIP code (19133), which includes parts of West Kensington and Fairhill, investors bought 40% of homes.
  • In several others, like 19143 and 19140, investors bought at least 30% of the homes.

Of note: Investors are also active in areas just outside the city limits, like in Darby, where they purchased 29% of homes, and Millbourne, where they bought 21%.

The bottom line: Philadelphia needs more homes, both rental and owner-occupied, to keep up with a growing city.

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