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Philadelphia's economy is supported strongly by the Medicine and Education sectors, often referred to as "Meds and Eds," which underpin a slow yet stable growth trajectory despite broader national economic shifts. Historically, low interest rates have fueled a nationwide surge in the development of multi-family housing, leading to what might be the largest growth in multi-family supply in history. However, with the end of inexpensive financing, many regions are now experiencing high vacancy rates and financial difficulties as property owners confront the challenges of refinancing their loans.

City of Philadelphia

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, there is about $929 billion in commercial mortgage-backed securities expected to mature by the end of 2024. In response, banks are extending loan terms, which helps mitigate the risk of marking down loans and prevents borrower defaults, thereby insulating the financial system from potential shocks.

In Philadelphia, the influx of high-quality housing units is particularly notable, with around 11,400 new units rated as 4 and 5 stars currently facing a 10.7% vacancy rate. By contrast, lower-rated buildings (classes 1-3) maintain healthier vacancy rates at around 5.3%. Philadelphia’s market performance is impressive, ranking 8th nationally in terms of absorption rates, and it boasts a vacancy rate of 6.8%, which is below the national average of 7.7%. The city anticipates the addition of another 16,000 apartment units, indicating that the supply will continue to increase.

Despite the challenges, the economic outlook for Philadelphia remains positive. The city benefits from its strategic location close to New York City, the Jersey Shore, Washington DC, and Baltimore. Investments in life sciences and competitive pricing relative to nearby markets enhance its appeal. These factors contribute to a surprisingly high absorption rate, suggesting that short-term pains may lead to long-term opportunities, particularly in the commercial sector. As the city navigates through these changes, the robustness of its economy and strategic initiatives are expected to position Philadelphia even more favorably in the evolving landscape of real estate.

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