Sep 6, 2022 - Real Estate

Philadelphia is one of the top cities for live-work-play apartments

Illustration of an office cubicle with a roof like a house.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Philadelphia added 8,000 mixed-use apartments between 2012 and 2021, per a recent report from RentCafe, a nationwide apartment-search website.

  • That accounts for nearly 40% of the units built in Philly in that timeframe, securing our city's spot at the forefront of a national housing trend.

Why it matters: Rental communities that include residential, office and retail space gained a foothold in the last decade, especially as the pandemic heightened renters' preference for having daily activities close at hand, the report found.

The big picture: The number of apartments in "live-work-play" buildings nationwide has quadrupled from 10 years ago, from 10,000 completed in 2012 to 43,700 in 2021, according to Yardi Matrix data.

  • Philly trailed only New York City (49%) and Boston (42%) in share of mixed-use apartments built in that period.
Data: RentCafe; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: RentCafe; Chart: Axios Visuals

Between the lines: While new buildings are popping up throughout the city, the Philly region trails other large U.S. metros in new apartment units expected to come online this year.

  • The region — Philadelphia, Camden and Wilmington — ranks 22nd among other U.S. cities for new apartment units set to be completed this year (more than 5,500), according to Joanna Truscan, a spokesperson for Redfin.
  • In Philly alone, 3,301 apartment units are projected to be delivered by year's end.

Yes, but: The city is suffering from a shortage of low-rent housing options, and affordable housing appears to be trending downwards.

  • Plus: Inflation is pushing rents higher, with the median asking rent in Philadelphia hitting $2,439 in July, up 11.3% over the last year, according to Redfin.

The bottom line: Blending different types of real estate is one way cities are evolving in the era of remote and hybrid work.

What to watch: The development of the former South Philly refinery into the Bellwether District would further boost the city's live-work-play apartment stock and create a new neighborhood.


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