Philadelphia on Track to Build Record Number of Apartments in 2022

A researcher from the Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation at Drexel University tells a tale of two housing markets—rental and for-sale—in the City of Brotherly Love.

2 minute read

January 4, 2022, 5:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


"Developers could build a record number of rental units in Philadelphia in 2022," reports Aaron Moselle for WHYY.

"Based on the volume of building permits approved by the city’s Department of Licenses and Inspections in 2021, the final figure for the year could balloon to 10,000 — more than triple the average annual total of 3,000 to 4,000 new apartments," adds Moselle.

Developers ramped up permitting activity in 2021 to take advantage of the city's existing ten-year tax abatement for new construction, which is scheduled to begin shrinking by 10 percent in 2022, according to Kevin Gillen, a senior research fellow with the Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation at Drexel University, who is responsible for the data driving the narrative of the article. Still, the development activity suggests that developers are bullish on the Philadelphia rental market, according to Gillen.

As noted by Moselle, the wave of development interest in the rental housing market is juxtaposed with a roller coaster in the for-sale housing market. "Last summer, home prices were up 20%. They’re now up just 10%, a noteworthy drop and a potential sign that prices could level out sooner rather than later," according to Moselle. The article includes more details on the affordability of Philadelphia (spoiler alert, Philly is the least affordable housing market in the region, according to Gillen).

The market pressure for new developments has led the city to beef up its historic preservation efforts in recent weeks and months.

Monday, January 3, 2022 in WHYY

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