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June 16, 2015

A very cool shot of 4 Center City condo buildings

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,For Sellers,General Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 2:31 pm
In the foreground on the left is 1706 Rittenhouse Sq.
In the foreground on the right is 250 S. 17th St.
The red building in the center is 250 S. 18th St.
Background on the right is the Barclay at 237 S. 18th St.
(taken from the 12th floor of the old medical arts tower- looking west down the 17xx block of Rittenhouse)
And here is some good food for thought…
If Location, location, location is the sole driving force of value then how can these four condo buildings each have distinct demand as well as pricing?
Certainly a building’s reputation and cache have something to do with pricing….

 

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June 8, 2015

Do Expiring Tax Abatements Equate To Lower Resale Values In the Center City Condo Arena?

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,For Sellers,General Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 2:36 pm
 There are a number of buildings in town whose tax abatements have run their course and an even bigger pile whose abatements expire over the next few years. The net effect on resale values and demand comes into question for many buyers. Here is my opinion:
     Center City CondoBuildings such as The Phoenix at 1600 Arch St. and Dockside at 717 S. Columbus Blvd. have expired abatements. Buildings like York Square, WaterFront Sq (in the Peninsula and Regatta towers),
many Naval Square units-as well as many other buildings erected here in town in the mid-2000’s are soon to expire. I have heard (though I certainly am usually not one to speak on behalf of city hall) that the tax rate for condos will be 1.34% of assessed value when abatements expire.
   If we look at the sales data from buildings whose abatement has expired over time, the net effect of an expired tax abatement is almost nil when looking at resale prices, demand and values. I have not seen any instance of value dropped solely based upon the expiration of a tax abatement.   Why, you ask? Here is what I gather from my many condo buyers in town:
   Lee Iococca adopted a theory he called “The Equality Of Sacrifice” – which I interpret to mean that as long as everyone is in the same boat (of an unabated tax bill) – then any fears of inequity are diminished.  And I believe that to be true. FULL ten-year tax abatement offers are few and far between in town these days
…. Except for maybe the last three units at WaterFront Square in the Reef building and a smattering of smaller new construction projects here and there.
   I think that buyers generally do not expect to see a “game changing”  benefit from the balance of any tax abatement. The entire market is rapidly aging in the expiration of the abatements and therefore I believe that any partial abatement period is kinda’ icing on the cake. It certainly can sweeten a deal for many, but I don’t think this is the end all, be all determining factor if a buyer buys “this unit or that”. But again, it certainly does not hurt to inherit the balance of an abatement 🙂
   Center City is more attractive than any abatement. We’re growing in size and popularity and the expiration of abatements and almost certainly isn’t going to keep anyone out of  town or out of any specific building in town.

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May 18, 2015

I Don’t Have a Crystal Ball

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,For Sellers,General Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 12:01 pm

The Philadelphia condominium market is something I enjoy analyzing, thinking about, etc., I am always amazed at how many times buyers and sellers ask me to give them solid concrete information about what is going to happen in the future.

crystalball

     Often a buyer’s query comes in the form of: “Will this home be worth more in five years than the one across town we just saw?” or “Should I lock my interest rate today because interest rates are going to rise next week?”

     Sellers are a bit more forward thinking as I find their mental dilemma encompassing thoughts of: “If I hold this property, and rent it out, what kind of rents can I get in the year, say, 2027?”

     Now I admit that when I bought my first Center City condominium at BridgeView Place , I drove my real estate agent nuts. I mean crazy. I still kinda’ duck my head when I pass her by on the street. And I am sure I tortured her with silly questions she could not have possibly answered.

     Although, you know, her crystal ball must have been fully operational way back when as she had no problem spittin’ out future numbers like they were being read off a bingo card. And I bought everything that came out of her mouth. Today that condo is worth exactly 4 times what it was worth back in 1991. (Bridgeview Place Unit #521).

     Now why didn’t I ask her to pick some lottery numbers for me?

     I might not have a crystal ball, but I do have the knowledge to help you purchase or sell your Center City condo or Philadelphia condominium for the best price and terms. Give me a call today at 215-521-1523 or drop me and email at mark@centercity.com. We’ll have fun!

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April 20, 2015

I Just bought a condo… And I agreed to what??

Filed under: Center City Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 2:13 pm
Here Are 5 clauses that are usually inserted into your Center City condo mortgage papers that you may not have known about…
1) Acceleration Clause
2)  Defeasance Clause
3) Prepayment Clause
4) Due On Sale Clause
5) Compliance Clause
All these clauses are standard-whether you are buying at The Hopkinson House, or say the Academy House….in most residential mortgages. What is the bottom line here? In my opinion…pay your mortgage and no one gets hurt….Similar to any other obligation, but in the case of a mortgage lender, they will provide clauses and provisions that are generally immutable and do go to the heart of protecting their own interests.
Your best defense? Ask. Then ask again.  And get a Real Estate Lawyer if you are signing something you don’t understand….
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March 16, 2015

How MANY sales per building in past 12 months?

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,For Sellers,General Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 1:45 pm

Philadelphian– 35

Society Hill Towers– 13

Academy House – 17

Dorchester– 9

Hopkinson House– 17

City View- 39

Independence Place– 9

2601 PA. Ave– 30

WaterFront Square – 33

Wanamaker House– 2

The Murano– 25

The Savoy– 9

Center City One– 3

Symphony House– 12

1352 South– 12

The Ellington – 12

Locust Point – 13

And interestingly enough…Low Rise Condos On Spruce St. From River to River = 39

Mark Wade
Mark@CenterCity.com
www.centercitycondos.com
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services – Fox & Roach Realtors

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March 2, 2015

Smoking Policies Effect On Condo Values

Filed under: Center City Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:10 am
 I have had groups of buyers in my car almost everyday for the past 26 years and after talking with and listening to an overwhelming number of buyers- I do not believe that a restrictive smoking policy will negatively affect values. It may decrease demand nominally, but overall I do not see how a smoking ban would, could, or has negatively affected any values for condos in Center City like Center City One at 1326 Spruce St.   I also think that the world is gravitating towards smoking bans in many areas (not just residential condos) and think the trend will continue. So unless a buyer wanted to move to the moon- there really is no avoiding the non-smoking trend and therefore really will not hamper values in my opinion. The following are condo buildings that have a NO SMOKING policy in effect:
Symphony House at 400-440 S. Broad St.
Society Hill Towers at 200-220 Locust St.
Hopkinson House at 604 S. Washington Sq.
 The Rittenhouse Hotel & Condos at 210 W. Rittenhouse
The Dorchester at 224 W. Rittenhouse
    I think more damning to values of particular buildings in town would be restrictive pet policies. 
   It is difficult to argue that the largest buildings should allow dogs. Yet implementing restrictions based upon size and breed may ultimately increase demand and ultimately resale values. I have seen many buyers in my day pass on particular buildings due to restrictive pet policies.  Buyers will more readily give up on a particular building than to give up their pets…reasonably so.

 

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February 24, 2015

Every Buyer and Seller wants to know one thing…

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,General Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 9:51 am
What do I get for those super high  %&%#)@$
 condo fees?
I get it…everyone thinks condo fees are always higher than they should be and many folks are unclear about where their condo dollars go:
1) Master Insurance Policy – Depending on the size of your building, this cost alone can account for up to 50% of your condo fees. More spread out over larger buildings but still a huge proportion of your monthly fees.
2) Building Amenities- Pool, parking, elevators, doormen and any utilities that may be included in your Philadelphia condo fees like water & sewer, or maybe heat and central air. Unless of course elevators run on magic pixie dust- you are going to have to pay to keep them running smoothly and safely. 2401 Pennsylvania Ave. (The Philadelphian)  is a good example of an all-inclusive building where almost all amenities are covered in your condo fees.
3) Upkeep and Maintenance- Of course this is the one factor that varies greatly and plays an integral part of your resale ability and resale price. You gotta’ pay to play folks- and value retention and upkeep of your common areas go hand in hand. There is no avoiding that equation.
IF YOU OWNED A SINGLE FAMILY HOME- YOU WOULD HAVE TO PAY THESE EXPENSES OUT OF YOUR OWN POCKET.  THERE ARE SUCH THINGS AS
“SINGLE FAMILY HOUSE” FEES IN THIS WORLD
and buyers should know that!
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January 5, 2015

Real Estate Agent Cliques

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 @ 11:37 am

The Real Estate community here in Center City is not unlike High School. You have your Prom Queens, your Stoners, and your Jocks….not to mention the Wallflowers and the Loudmouths. All kinds of agents make our world go around…and that is great. Most agents are nice and cooperative but there are of course the real A-Holes that some agents try to avoid like the plague.

And if you think the Center City Real Estate community doesn’t have its own clique- then you would be incorrect. Some Center City Condo listings get more traffic than others just due to their basic popularity, like the Academy House at 1420 Locust St. Being cooperative, flexible, playing by the rules, etc., all have their benefits. I have heard repeatedly that agents will avoid certain listings because they don’t want to work with this or that agent for the next two to three months of their lives. I get it. I am not saying I condone such behavior, but I do understand it. I too do not want to deal with someone who is not going to return my phone calls, has a reputation of being a pain to deal with, or maybe even known to be a hint evasive or is just someone who is known for not being able to help carry a deal to closing because they haven’t (say) been honest with their clients. Or just plain aloof.

    And being “In with the In crowd” gives me access to properties that less popular agents can’t arrange.  I am in the clique, you see :-)   And I sell a lot of Philadelphia condos….so I may get a hint more wiggle room for weekend appointments, or last minute appointments. Or just get waltzed right past the doorman when I walk into a building.

 

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December 9, 2014

2015 Condo Market Forecast

Filed under: Center City Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 9:08 am

So where are we in terms of value retention and return? Have we fully recovered from our last downturn? Just What Can We Expect For 2015?

Center City Philadelphia Condos

Is it time to be a seller??

Click play below to listen to my new podcast about the 2015 Philly Condo Market…

 

Mark Wade    215.521.1523
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services | Fox and Roach Realtors®

 

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November 24, 2014

Here is What I am hearing around town…

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,For Sellers,General Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:47 am
1) Rivers Edge Condos at 2301 Cherry St: There can be little argument that prices and demand for the building are on a huge upswing since residents have implement and paid for assessments for improvements made to 2301. Just look at the sales in the MLS. And it makes sense- a killer location in the 19103 zip with parking. Winning!

2) The Coronado at 2201 Chestnut St: Facade overhaul – even decorative elements of this lovely pre-war are being removed and recast…including ironwork and window frames. Foyer and front entrance being studied to include doors, lighting, canopy and tile restoration work. And they have limited their allowable rentals-BRAVO!

3) WaterFront Square at 901 N. Penn St: In the middle of some really groovy renovations to the entrance including an attractive water feature and improvements to the larger of the two dog parks. The entrance was benign and bland. Not any more…

4) The Plaza at 1901 Walnut St: Assessments are finished and interior (behind the walls) work done to common elements. New entrance and foyer area work completed as well as mail room. I think 1901 is poised for real value growth.

5) GrandView at 1100 Vine St: Recently refinished the lobby area..and holy crap is it stunning. Someone here had a good eye.
Also plans for redoing the entire 2nd floor (common area) to include new/expanded gym, yoga studio and commercial kitchen areas. First floor commercial offices being rented out as well- which will help curb appeal. Smart Center City Condo building- one of first to put a severe hold on rental ratio. Very smart indeed.

6) BridgeView Place at 315 New St: Finished the common roof deck and exterior brick work (some time ago).

7) Hopkinson House at 604 S. Washington Sq: A face lift project to the front entrance plaza area is well underway as well as installation of a handicap ramp and the repair of deteriorating underground structural beams and expansion joints.

8) The Academy House at 1420 Locust St: Upcoming improvements include lobby and arcade renovations. Fabulous!
And the employees recently rejected the idea of “going union.”


Mark Wade
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services | Fox & Roach Realtors®  
 530 Walnut St. Suite 260
Philadelphia, Pa. 19106
Mark@CenterCity.com 
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Philadelphia, PA 19106
Direct: 215.521.1523 ~ Office: 215.627.6005
Fax: 215.627.3142
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