Economy League weighs in on city's 'looming housing crisis'

As Diana Lind argues in her recent book Brave New Home, traditional housing in the United States is becoming increasingly inaccessible and unaffordable. Young people—such as Millennials—and historically excluded populations—such as communities of color and recent immigrants—are finding it more difficult to buy homes or pay rent.

Although Philadelphia has been touted as a relatively affordable East Coast city, the evidence suggests that it is becoming increasingly unaffordable for average residents. In this report, The Economy League of Greater Philadelphia takes a closer look at the increasing gap between income, home prices, and rents in the city.

Key Takeaways

  • While median income in Philadelphia grew faster than the national rate between 2005 and 2019, median home values in the city rose at a far faster rate than the national average during this period, resulting in additional pressure on area homebuyers.
  • The proportion of rent-burdened Philadelphia households also exceeded the national average.
  • As of 2019, Philadelphia’s median home value is 39.3 percent greater than its value in 2005; the median home value in the U.S. is only 9.4 percent greater than its value in 2005
  • As of 2019, Philadelphia’s median household income was 11.1 percent greater than its value in 2005; median household income in the U.S. was 8.3 percent greater than its value in 2005.
  • Between 2005 and 2019, the average Philadelphian had to spend between 3 to 4 times annual household income to afford to buy a home in the city.
  • As of 2019, the city’s median gross rent was 13.4 percent greater than in 2005; the 2019 median gross rent in the U.S. was 14.8 percent above its 2005 value.
  • Since at least 2005, about half of all renting households in Philadelphia have been rent burdened; in 2019, 52 percent of rental households were rent burdened, 7 percent higher than the national average.

To view Part One of the full report, go here.