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August 18, 2014

TRENDS in the Center City Condo Environment Over the Past 25 Years

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,General Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 8:38 am

  Like haircuts and waist size, many things have a tendency to change over time. Here are some notable changes I have seen to the Center City condo market over the past 25 years-

1) The Disbursement of Wealth – In the mid 1980’s, if you had a million dollars to buy a condo, you landed on Rittenhouse Sq. and probably in 1820 or 1830 Rittenhouse. Today- your imagination and money can take you to far away exotic places like- Old City, Bella Vista, and the Loft District. Large high-end condos have spread around town to almost all neighborhoods.

2) The introduction of “High End Low-Rise/Brownstone” styled condos- The defeat of many a high end brownstones over the years was the lack of an elevator. Anyone looking to buy high end in a brownstone probably isn’t going to be fond of stairs. From 1030-2 Spruce (Knightsbridge Condos) to the lovely 1904 Spruce and 2138 Lombard, the high-end market is finding its way into groovy Brownstone and soft loft conversions- with elevators.

3) No trend in Co-op growth- No new ones since before the mid-1980’s. They fly well in NYC, but never really caught on here in town in terms of their growth in numbers. 1901 Walnut is the premier co-op building in town…a lovely pre-war on the north side of the square. Very handsome building…and I fail to see how the fact that it is a co-op has diminished its value.

4) Lower Than Expected Conversion Projects- Yes…we saw the Grande, The Ellington, The Phoenix and a smattering of other re-used office buildings. But with the inventory and location advantages some of these older places have- I am surprised we haven’t seen more conversions. I would look for more conversion projects in the next wave of construction.

5) Zeroing in on condos near Jefferson and U of Penn- The growth of small and large size condominium buildings around Jefferson Medical for example has proven to be one of the easiest, sure-fire ways for many condos to find buyers. Like shootin’ fish in a barrel. Ditto for U of Penn area.  Builders are filling a market need, and there are some smart buys in both areas. Huge growth segment.

Mark Wade
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services 
Fox & Roach
530 Walnut St. Suite 260
Philadelphia, Pa. 19106
Mark@CenterCity.com
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February 9, 2011

3 Easy Ways to Spruce up your Philly Condo’s Showing Ability

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Sellers,Of Interest To Sellers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 3:17 pm

I am often asked by condo owners to offer tips on getting their condo to “Show Well”. Here are the 3 quick easy tips for maximizing the showing ability of your Philadelphia condominium:

1) Go to Ikea, and buy a floor to ceiling curtain and hang it from ceiling height, in front of your bathtub. This is not going to take the place of your shower curtain, it is simply going to add some dramatic effect to the bathroom. It is quick, cheap, and has a powerful punch in terms of the emotional appeal of your Center City condo.

2) Paint an accent wall. Preferably, one that is opposite the entryway to any given room. I like to see fireplace walls accented in somewhat neutral, yet enticing colors too. Like a chalky blue, or green. Painting an accent wall will give a hint of flavor to a room, without overpowering the room with massive color.

Hawthorne Lofts, Mark Wade-1-8

3) Replace the knobs on the doors and drawers in your kitchen and bathroom. And don’t buy the 99 cents knobs either. Go to Pottery Barn, or Restoration Hardware, and spend a few dollars. Believe me when I tell you, they will help even a somewhat tired kitchen look a bit refreshed.

That’s it. Three quick easy steps for maximizing the interior “curb appeal” to your Philly loft or condo!

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

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December 21, 2010

Some Philly Condos Appreciate and some Depriciate

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,For Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 11:33 am

Not all fluctuations in value have a direct correlation to one particular quality of any given Philadelphia condominium. Rather, a Philadelphia 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 the condo’s emotion: 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-one years of selling real estate, I have never had a buyer tell me to find him the dirtiest, or the worst decorated condo available. 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 characteristics of any given unit can help or hurt the units value (think- huge closets, a tax abatement, 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.

33 N 3rd Street-9 33 N 3rd Street-6

Location is a huge factor to the rate of either appreciation or depreciation too. 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.)

RittenhouseSquare wash square 3

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 time frame. 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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August 19, 2010

Divide up your Old City Loft Space….but keep the light!

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:16 am

A buyer of mine sent me this link, www.RayDoor.com, and I think it is really groovy! And a great idea for many Old City condo lofts which have exceedingly large living rooms. By adding another bedroom area, and still keeping the light coming into your living room, you could quickly and easily add value.

raydoor raydoor 2 raydoor3 raydoor4

And the look is very hip and perfectly positioned for some of the neat Old City condos that Center City has available! See more at www.RayDoor.com.

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

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August 12, 2010

An Insider’s Look Into The Center City Condo Activity

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 @ 1:30 pm

We hear all kinds of national news stories about the country’s current real estate market. Below is a simple breakdown of the number of showings that have taken place at Prudential Fox and Roach’s Center City Philadelphia Listings over the past 9 months. The figures are broken down by price ranges. There does not appear to be a lack of folks looking to buy and as usual, very early spring seems to produce the most Center City Condo buyers with traffic slowing mid-summer as many people leave for vacations.   

eshow

Leave a comment, or shoot me an email at Mark@CenterCity.com. I’d live to hear your thoughts on this “inside” Center City Real Estate report. Spring Market 2011 is just around the corner!

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

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August 5, 2010

Sh*tty Philadelphia Condo Buildings

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,General Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 2:17 pm

…Have Sh*tty Resale Prices- If they sell at all.

 
Come on, you would have to be from the moon to believe all condo buildings here in Center City are created equal in terms of
demand, cache, and resale ability (in terms of price and “days on market”). There are some buildings in downtown Philly that just really suck, in terms of their investment value. And there are a handful of buildings that basically cannot resale at all.
 
Some of the signs to be aware of-
 
1) A lot of units on the market, and very few sold in the past 12 months
2) A high number of REO’s/Foreclosures/Short Sales
3) A low owner-occupancy ratio in the building
4) Poorly managed exterior and common area condition
 
Unless you are buying a short sale or a foreclosure in the building, or are in the mood to just piss your money away, I would suggest we talk prior to you buying in certain buildings.. Some Center City condominium buildings aren’t worth a look, much less an offer.

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

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July 29, 2010

The First to Flinch, loses

Filed under: General Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 1:07 pm

I am at a standoff between a buyer and a seller on a particular condo in Center City.

This is routine. What makes this an interesting case is that after 5 days of initial offer presentation, the seller is at (say) $815k, after some price reductions, and negotiating…and the buyer is stuck at $810k, after a few counter offers.

So who is going to budge?

If I pester the other agent to hammer his or her buyer to take my seller’s offer of $815k…does that not show a sign of weakness?  I think it does. It is a game of chicken at this point, and the first party to flinch, or show weakness in the negotiating process by being too impatient, may well indeed be the loser and may have to cave to make up the $5,000 difference in this case.
 
I am advising my seller to sit tight, and put on their best poker face.
 
We will see….stay tuned.
 
Mark Wade
www.CenterCityCondos.com
Prudential Fox and Roach REALTORS®
530 Walnut St., Suite 260 Philadelphia, PA 19106

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July 27, 2010

Five best selling new construction condo buildings in Center City

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 1:19 pm

1) Locust Point

2) 815 Arch St

3) Naval Square

4) York Square

5) The National at Old City

Based upon the fact that these buildings are sold out, (or in the case of Naval Square which continues to add new buildings as demand dictates), I would suggest that these five Philly condo buildings have fared the best in Center City since the onslaught of new construction in Philadelphia started taking shape. There are also a handful of buildings that have just a few remaining units left- Ayer, Symphony House, and Western Union Building to name a few. And of course, there are buildings here in Center City in which a small fraction of sales have happened, even after a four to five year marketing period. We won’t mention those pieces here.

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

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July 23, 2010

Top 3 Snarky answers to the question: Do I have to pay condo fees?

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 9:01 am

1) Why no…the elevator runs on magic pixie dust…it doesn’t need electricity to operate.

2) Of course not…the doorman here works for free.

3) Not in this building….the hallways, windows, and lobby magically clean themselves.

…it is a miracle of course, but that is how things happen at this Philadelphia Condominium.

If there are common elements (the definition of a condo) then they have to be maintained by the members of the condo association. If your condo makes up say 2% of the building, then you are responsible for 2% of the cost to run the building. Plain and simple! 🙂

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

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July 16, 2010

Times Have Changed

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 2:45 pm

Giant Soaking Tubs, Formal Dining Rooms, and Bidets…All left Center City a while ago.

Real Estate advertising in the late 1980’s in Center City went like this:
Secure condo with wall to wall plush sculptured carpeting,  Corian counter-tops, and mirrored closet doors north of Society Hill.  Whirlpool bath soaking tub (Maroon color), bidet, and formal dining room.  Just FABULOUS!  Asking $199,000
 
Today’s Center City Condo Real Estate Ads read:
Stainless and Granite kitchen, tumbled marble back-splash, Walk-in Shower, Open Liv/Din room combo- Fab Loft style in Old City With Exposed brick, Sub-Zero and Viking appliances- $599,000
000_2176

 
Personally, I don’t remember the “good ol’ days” in many Philadelphia condominiums. A whole lot of them were builder grade crap. Buyers are certainly expecting more these days in terms of interior improvements, and sometimes the best applicable adage is that of Condition, Condition, Condition.

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

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Philadelphia, PA 19106
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