Jul 27, 2022 - Real Estate

A reality check for Philly's housing market

Illustration of a ball and chain crashing into the roof of a house.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Our area didn't fare so well in a new edition of a housing index put together by the Wall Street Journal and Realtor.com.

State of play: The Philadelphia metro slotted in at 293 out of 300 in this summer's Emerging Markets Index, which the WSJ says aims to identify "the top metro areas for home buyers seeking an appreciating housing market, a strong local economy and appealing lifestyle amenities."

  • Realtor.com says the list gravitated toward cities that were mid-sized, affordable and outdoorsy.
  • The top spot went to Elkhart, Ind. — about 90 miles east of Chicago — thanks to its low unemployment rate and online interest from Chicago buyers.

The big picture: Many of the factors that went into this methodology were never going to be tilting in Philly's favor — or, really, most of America's biggest cities. The top of the list boasts cities with "higher wages and shorter commute times," Realtor.com's manager of economic research George Ratiu told the WSJ.

  • "For many young professionals, especially those with growing families, the cost premium of living in a city like San Francisco or New York has lost its allure during the pandemic," Ratiu added.

Worth noting: One badge of pride for Philadelphians comes if you keep skimming past us on the list. New York is dead last.

  • And Philly has been peeling away New Yorkers over the last year, too, according to a recent Inquirer look at cell-phone location data.

The bottom line: We tend to think of Philly as affordable when compared to our peer cities on the East Coast — and it certainly is — but there's a whole lot more of America out there.


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