Better jobs and higher rents are pushing more young Philadelphians to buy homes in the city's downtown. With the median home price of $203,600 near the national average, and a new energy to rebuild and rehab downtown neighborhoods, it is no wonder sales are up dramatically.
"Millennials are moving into town," said Mike McCann, a 28-year veteran of the Philadelphia housing market, and a real estate agent with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, Fox & Roach. "They are moving into Center City, into downtown, because of lifestyle. They don't want to live out in the 'burbs. They don't want to drive."
Sales of existing Philadelphia homes dropped 3 percent in November from a year ago, according to Fox & Roach. Inventory is up about 6 percent, according to Zillow. That could mean an easing in prices, as is the case in much of the nation, but there is a local difference in Philly.
"What's happened in Center City is an expansion of neighborhoods," said McCann, who points to both new construction and major rehabilitation projects expanding out from the city's core in every direction.
Renting is still very popular among young Philadelphians, but McCann said that as rents rise and the employment picture improves, he's seeing more people look at buying, especially new condominiums and rehabs.
"This is the most exciting I've ever seen it. It's not any one neighborhood, it's everywhere," he added.
Updated: This story was updated to include November sales figures.