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March 31, 2009

The Lure of the Philadelphia Real Estate Market to Empty Nesters

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 3:07 pm

Neighbors thought Edward and Connie were nuts to abandon their idyllic suburban oasis, replete with ducks flying to and from the pond, for a 17′ wide row house in Center City in 1989. A row house without parking, or more than a small square slab of cement to call a back yard. And four stories from basement to top floor.  Edwards and Connie’s move signaled a shift in the residential paradigm. Their parents left the city after World War II, and come hell or high water, they weren’t coming back. But Gordon and Ellen think of themselves as far to cool and hip to spend their days in a five bedroom ranch house with a half acre of land, and a basement full of tools and half used accrutremones. Recall, they are the generation that said words like “groovy”, and “right on”. The idea of never owning a lawmower, nor a garage full of half used brooms and shovels -appeals to many an empty nester. No more yard work, no more owning more than one car, and no more having to repair the roof. The thought of new surroundings, in a new luxury condominium, with much less responsibility (and therefore more freedom) is again very appealling.


     
Baby boomers, becoming empty nesters provided the fuel needed for many new projects that have recently been added to Center City’s skyline. Buyers of many luxury condominiums her in downtown Philadelphia have made wonderful gains in the last twenty years, with respect to their real estate investments. That money is coming to town, without the burden of private schools for the kids, the kids, and often comes during prime earning years. It is their turn to treat themselves, and the developers of many condominium buildings are positioning themselves to take advantage of that market.


    
The perception that downtown Philadelphia has really come a long way over the past twenty years, from being cleaner, safer, and culturally more adept -are all reasons that contribute to the lure of the empty nester set. From friends who have also made the move, to museums, restaurants, shopping, and the bike trails up the Schuykill river, Philadelphia is shaping up to be a fine residential attraction, and empty nesters have taken notice. And to think that South Broad street is now the place to see and be seen. Who would have thought?

Mark Wade
www.CenterCityCondos.com
Prudential Fox and Roach REALTORS®
530 Walnut St., Suite 260 Philadelphia, PA 19106

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March 26, 2009

Real Estate Appreciation and Depreciation in the Center City condo market

Filed under: Center City Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 4:27 pm

Not all fluctuations in value have a direct correlation to one event, or one particular quality to a particular Philadelphia condominium. Rather, a Phildelphia condominium’s value, and the rate of change therein, is really a product of a host of factors.

  
    
Obvious factors are the showing ability and emotional impact that a particular condo unit does or does not possess: cleanliness, natural light, wall color, furniture, even the smell of a condo can add or subtract from the emotional beauty, and leads to a huge impact on a condos value. In my twenty years of selling real estate, I have never had a buyer tell me to find him the dirtiest, or the worst decorated condo available. Easily, as much a ten percent difference in value depending upon showing ability. And of course interior condition can also have a major impact on value. Beige bathtubs and appliances can crimp value fairly quickly in a lot of cases.  And of course the physical charactoristics of any given unit can help or hurt the units value (think- huge closets, a tax abatment, high ceilings,etc). Styles, like appliances and carpeting have a tendency to age, and that is usually accompanied by a slower rate of appreciation. Clearly, more recently rehabbed, say, Rittenhouse Square condos are going to retain their value better than a unit in a state of disrepair or decline in its finishes. Also prohibitive condominium association rules and policies can deter many buyers from specific buildings. A host of factors can cause units to sit on the market longer than normal, and almost always guaranteeing a lessened resale value.    

Location is also a huge factor to the rate of either appreciation or depreciation. Stronger locations in town have a tendency to be a bit more elastic- they are the first neighborhoods to see a drop in inventory with any influx of buyers to the market. That’s a good thing. Recall the principles of supply and demand. I would argue that a strong location is going to depreciate less -because IF in a weakened marketplace, the first condos to remain unsold are in the weaker locations. (The flip side is that you might be able to strike a significantly improved deal, should you be looking away from an “A” location.)
 
I am just brushing the surface here, but know that not all condos in town will appreciate or depreciate at the same rate. Or sell within the same given timeframe. The best tools you have to insure your value remains intact is twofold:

1) Buy it at the right price in the first place and/or

2) Keep your unit looking like it just jumped off the pages of Town and Country Magazine.

Easier said than done, I am aware!

Mark Wade
www.CenterCityCondos.com
Prudential Fox and Roach REALTORS®
530 Walnut St., Suite 260 Philadelphia, PA 19106

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March 24, 2009

Old City – Once referred to as the Warehouse District

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 6:22 pm

Old City Philadelphia, or Olde City Philadelphia….either way, the neighborhood once blighted with unattractive and massive warehouses, is now the place to be for many searching for a hip and groovy condos in Philly. Once referred to as the “Warehouse district”, Old City has become the hip urban neighborhood that is much in demand! Converted factories and lofts dominate the Old City condos set. Though few townhomes are located within the Old City, many buyers find the attraction to the variety of loft space a real draw. Old City Condos in the area are many and varied. From studios to larger rambling spaces, the historic fabric and eclectic visuals make Old City a popular buying destination for Philadelphia’s residential condo buyers. 108 Arch, The Moravian condominiums, York Square, BridgeView Place condos, Wireworks condos, and the National in Old City are some of the big name condo projects in the area. All of Old City falls within the 19106 zip code. Area boundaries for Old City Philly are:  Front St. to the east, 5th St. to the west, and Walnut St. to the south, and Wood St. to the north.

I personally have lived in Old City for the past 16 out of my 20 years here in downtown Philadelphia, and really enjoy the neighborhood. The charm, history, and area shopping proximity are just a few bonuses to my Old City condo!

Mark Wade
www.CenterCityCondos.com
Prudential Fox and Roach REALTORS®
530 Walnut St., Suite 260 Philadelphia, PA 19106
 
Listen to Mark describe condos in Old City in a podcast
Read a blog entry about Old City lofts in Philadelphia
See video of an Old City condo that aired on HGTV!

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March 19, 2009

Dude-Your condo STILL smells like dog pee.

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,General Real Estate,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 8:47 am

As a longtime Philadelphia Realtor, I see the value in a good appearance of your Center City Condominium, and a good first impression.

Nevermind that your kitchen has white appliances, and formica countertops. Those sins are forgiveable.  Most folks can even get past a seller’s vanilla bathroom and maybe even the lack of good natural light. But your ratty futon from your college days? Your clear lack of ownership in a sweeper, or a mop?  More than any home improvement, if you are looking to increase the value of your condo in Philly, get yourself some Mop N Glo, and get cleaning.

Most buyers are not interested in having your dirt and grime transfer with title. Unless of course, you are looking to attract really low offers.

Mark Wade
www.CenterCityCondos.com
Prudential Fox and Roach REALTORS®
530 Walnut St., Suite 260 Philadelphia, PA 19106

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March 17, 2009

Philadelphia Condominium Pet Policies

Filed under: Center City Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:19 am

…Vary Building by Building


 
Every condominium association has its own rule governing cats, dogs, giraffes, and other miscellaneous pets. The general rule of thumb is as follows:

1) Low Rise and/or Brownstone Style condominiums

Almost ALL of these small associations allow dogs and cats. I dunno’ about giraffes. Rarely are size, or breed restrictions in place. Such is the case at The Clinton Condominiums at 11th and Clinton Streets. No elevator, and limited common space generally mean more relaxed pet policies. However, there may be a nuisance clause inserted into the condo docs, should your pet be continually yappy, or be prone to bite others.

2) High Rise Condos

All Pre-War buildings on Rittenhouse Square allow dogs and cats. Breed restriction or weight limits may apply. It has been my experience that smaller high rise (and high-end) buildings with limited number of occupants do allow pets- Like 1900 Rittenhouse Square.  High rise condo buildings with large populations (Academy House)  generally will not allow dogs. The Philadelphian, at 2401 Pennsylvania Ave. goes as far as to prohibit dogs and cats. I understand not wanting some wreckless 19 year old kid with his mean dog in an elevator with my 94 year old grandmother.

Large condo associations looking to rethink their restrictive pet policies can implement size and breed restrictions to keep disruptions and the “fear factor” out of the common areas of any given association. This idea will probably gain in popularity as associations look for ways to attract, instead of repel potential buyers. In my 20 year real estate career here in Center City, the buying public is about 50 times more likely to purchase a condo with a relaxed pet policy, than in spite of one. Most buyers will give up their first choice of condo buildings, before they will give up their beloved dog or cat. I wouldn’t dream of giving away my dog to live in any specific building here in Center City. Would you?     

Mark Wade
www.CenterCityCondos.com
Prudential Fox and Roach REALTORS®
530 Walnut St., Suite 260 Philadelphia, PA 19106

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March 10, 2009

Exposed Brick Walls – Some finishing options

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,General Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 4:29 pm

Generally accompanied by oversized windows and high ceilings, exposed brick walls lend an air of casual comfort to many Old City lofts, and other Center City abodes. But the treatment of those walls need not take on the same ol’ look, time after time.

Some Opt to varnish, or apply polyurethane to the brick, thereby controlling the brick dust accumulation, and giving the brick a bit of a shine, not unlike shiny hardwood flooring.

Another option, which I strongly prefer, would be the Painted Exposed brick look. Though I can rarely convince others to paint their exposed brick, some of the coolest and most hip looks are achieved by taking a  colored paint to interior exposed brick finishes.

Of course, once you paint an exposed brick wall, you are kinda’ stuck with the look, unless you go and have the walls sandblasted. Not a process I would wish upon my worst enemy! Messy, to say the least.

Looking for cool and hip? Let’s take a look at some units together? Maybe a Fitler Square Condo? Give me a call at 215.521.1523 or email me at Mark@CenterCity.com.

Mark Wade
www.CenterCityCondos.com
Prudential Fox and Roach REALTORS®
530 Walnut St., Suite 260 Philadelphia, PA 19106

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March 5, 2009

Views can heavily influence value in High Rise Philadelphia condos

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,General Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 1:12 pm

…and floor height isn’t the only factor affecting values within the same buildings
 
Probably the most overlooked effect on value to high rise Rittenhouse Square condos is the view that any particular condominium building offers. And not all views are created equal. Let compare and contrast a few different scenarios. All are based on my opinion, as a fairly seasoned Center City realtor who specializes in condo sales-
 
1) It is possible for a posh Rittenhouse Square condo to nearly double in value if it has a full squre view (as opposed to say the identical unit with NO view of the square).

2) In some buildings, the highest values have been posted not only on the highest floors, but also on what we call “treetop” view. A very nice view of the treetops, say on the 5th floor of a Philadelphia highrise condo can be very appealling to a number of buyers

3) A condo on a high Floor does not always warrant a higher sales price. IS there a benefit to looking directly into a neighboring high rise condo building- from the 27th vs the 8th floor?

4) I personally have found few buyers to discriminate between an East vs West view. However, a number of condo values are greatly affected by a North Vs South view.

 

5) Not all views from the 16th floor of various buildings are the same. Think about ceiling height, and windows that run floor to ceiling. The building itself can manipulate either the view, or the feeling that the view offers, and this in turn will affect resale value and overall appeal.

Mark Wade
www.CenterCityCondos.com
Prudential Fox and Roach REALTORS®
530 Walnut St., Suite 260 Philadelphia, PA 19106

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March 2, 2009

Large Center City Condo Buildings

Filed under: Center City Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 2:55 pm

Because I have nothing better to do in my life than to find out and report on everything that has to do with condominiums in Center City Philadelphia :-), I thought I would post the following facts about some of the large buildings here in town:
 
The Murano: Located at 21St and Market Streets, this new gorgeous high rise has 302 units. And killer views! Floor to ceiling windows don’t hurt either!

The Dorchester: At 224 W. Rittenhouse Sq., this large condo building has a rooftop pool, garage rental parking, and a whopping 526 units!

2601: On the corner of 26th and Pennsylvania Ave. is this very large 550 unit building with some really cool rooftop penthouse units with large patios!


 
The Academy House: Locust and 15th Streets, this super large condo building has a ton of amenities, and a total of 576 units.

Society Hill Towers: Comprised of 3 tall high rise buildings, with garage parking and a cool outdoor pool has a total of 670 units


 
The Philadelphian: The Grand-Daddy of all Pennsylvania condo buildings with a whopping 676 units, and 306 rental garage spots!! Wow!


 
IS BIGGER BETTER? Give me a call at 215.521.1523 or drop me an email at Mark@CenterCity.com, and let’s chat!

Mark Wade
www.CenterCityCondos.com
Prudential Fox and Roach REALTORS®
530 Walnut St., Suite 260 Philadelphia, PA 19106

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530 Walnut Street, Suite 260
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Direct: 215.521.1523 ~ Office: 215.627.6005
Fax: 215.627.3142
Email: Mark@CenterCity.com
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