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October 27, 2014

What Is Hot In The Condo Segment Of Center City Since 1/1/14?

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,For Sellers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:57 am
Let’s Look At Condo Sales By Price Range:
Under $250,000 = 213 SALES
$250,000-$500,000 = 397 SALES
$500,000- $1,000,000 = 115 SALES
Over $1 Million = 63 SALES
Let’s Look At Center City Condo Sales By Zip Code:
19102 = 59 sales
  19103 = 195 sales
  19106 = 111 sales
19107 = 82 sales
19123 = 68 sales
   19130 = 131 sales
19146 = 66 sale
19147 = 61 sales
Let’s Look At Philadephia Condo Sales By Bed Count:
Studios = 38 SALES
One Bedrooms = 299 SALES
Two Bedrooms = 307 SALES
Three or More Bedrooms = 70 SALES

Per Trend MLS I am including all sale in 2014 in the following zip codes:

19102,19103,19106,19107,19123,19130,19146,19147

I sifted through page after page of MLS sale stats to come

up with these figures. The numbers may be off by a few…

So a hint of forgiveness is appreciated. Thanks.

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September 29, 2014

My Top 5 Picks for Value Increases Over The Next 10 Years

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,For Sellers,General Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 8:35 am

1) 2301 Cherry St– The condos are selling at a pace I haven’t seen in a decade at Rivers Edge.  Major assessments are helping and you just can’t find these values in 19103 with parking in a doorman building.

2)1352 South St. Condos– Began a  new marketing campaign earlier this year. When that is over and the building sells out- I would look for prices to spike as the current $/sf is very competitive.

3) Low Rise Condos in 19107 – The overall lack of inventory and “DOM” (days on market) for this set shows a trend for potential future growth. One key is proximity to Jefferson Medical.

4) The Rittenhouse Hotel and Condominiums – Recent sales have primarily been original condition units which have artificially set the bar at a low point in terms of resale prices. Once that inventory gets soaked up- Prices are going to jump in the building in my estimation. The competition just isn’t there for such a fine building on the Square.

5) Center City One Condos– 1326 Spruce St. The lines have already started- buyers looking for a two bedroom two bath unit here will compete with each other for the next unit to appear. A new benchmark will be set…that is pretty clear to anyone who has kept their eye on the Center City condo market. I mean…even a blind man knows when the sun is shining 🙂

Oh, and of course 1706 Rittenhouse!

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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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August 11, 2014

Attention Developers…

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:56 am

     ATTENTION DEVELOPERS….

Converting a Brownstone to Condos in Center City?

As the market begins to heat up, so does the demand for smaller associations like brownstone styled condos that tend to have lower condo fees, and a hint more character than say a high rise may possess. Here are a few hints a developer may want to keep in mind:

1) Make sure to carpet the common areas. No one wants to hear the owner of say unit 2R clomp his or her way through the halls with their high heels. Keep noise to a minimum in common areas- hardwood floor and or tile is not appropriate. Carpet these areas. Please.

2) Think about splitting your water bills up- meter each unit separately. Many buyers may be part timers or weekend city warriors, and may benefit from not having to pay for water that they don’t use on a daily basis.

3) If the city allows, and you have space in the basement, put up two by fours and chicken wire storage units. And buy a dehumidifier for the association. The minimal cost will pay for itself in terms of marketability.

4) Common Area paint should be done in a low gloss finish. And spend a few extra dollars on front door security and hallway lighting. Again, a small cost, but huge in the minds of many Center City brownstone styled condo buyers.

5) When you are done building the condos, take a step back, and put in another $2500 into each unit in terms of groovy paint, wallpaper, and lighting. You will no doubt be able to recoup every penny of that visual investment (and them some) and the condos will sell quicker. Much quicker.

Remember, your competition is going to be at least a decade or two old- so modern up to date cosmetics are exceedingly important for marketability. I find that what kills a developer in terms of profitability, is the time it takes to market a condo. A vacant condo is simply just p*ssing money down a drain.  I would suggest there is a fine line between over-improving, and hitting the market just right- in terms of pricing and your final product. Need some more advice?

Call me, Let’s chat. Mark Wade

215.521.1523 / 215.627.6005           www.CenterCityCondos.com          Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox and Roach Realtors

 

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July 7, 2014

What’s In Your Condo Docs?

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Of Interest to Buyers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 12:21 pm

Here are a few things that you may not have known are pretty standard in condo docs in  Center City:

1) Almost all associations charge 2 months capital contribution- means you pay 2 months condo fees to the association- not the owner, but the association- Helps build the kitty.
2) You better check the pet policy- A few years back a young woman bought a Philadelphia condo at Locust Point, then had to sell because she ignored the pet policy- her dog was too big. And she of course wasn’t parting with the dog, so she parted with the condo.
3) Rental Restrictions- Becoming more and more common in condo docs and their rules and regs- which can be a huge value-preserving tool for the association.
4) Future Assessments- Will tell you if any assessments have been approved for the future. Not “discussing assessments” but real approved assessments. There is a difference.
5) The Budget- This is a biggie. You may want to see how much $$ is on hand for future improvements- should correspond to building size and age. New buildings have little reserve- and often, they don’t need them- there is no differed maintenance beyond cosmetic often.

In the state of PA., you have 5 days or 15 days to review your condo docs depending upon the type of Center City condo you are buying- used or new.

Mark Wade
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach Realtors
Mark@CenterCity.com    215.521.1523

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June 16, 2014

These changing times….

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,For Sellers — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:25 am

What was once valued can easily become passe. Though many elements listed below are still of interest to many buyers and prevalent in our marketplace, many Center City Condo buyers are now asking for the following:
What’s In?                                           What’s Out?
Wallpaper in Bathrooms               Painted High Gloss Walls
Mixed Counter Top Surfaces                                       Corian
Wireless Alarm Systems                        Window Grates/Bars
Freezers On the Bottom                                         Side By Side
LED Lighting                                                 Halogen Lighting
Oversize Kitchen Sinks                            Double Kitchen Sink
Balconies                                                             Roof Decks
Solid Interior Doors                                  Hollow Core Doors
Dark Hardwood Flooring              Honey Colored Hardwood 
Painted Brick                                                   Exposed Brick
One Level Living                                  Multiple Level Living
Home Theaters                                                             Dens
Frosted Glass                                                         Glass Block
Full Door Closets                                     Bi-Fold Closet Doors
Quartz                                                                        Granite
Walk-In Showers For Two                     Jacuzzi Tubs For Two
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March 10, 2014

Rumor has it…

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,General Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 1:25 pm
-The Plaza is done with their lobby work and they made one of the best common foyers in town even better. Now exterior work to begin on the balconies.
-I have heard that the planned new construction at 25th and Locust is going to be a Philadelphia condo building- and not rentals. Don’t bet on it-just a rumor.
-The Murano is getting a make-over to their community room. No offense as I love the Murano, but…yippee.
-The lobby of the Warwick has been completed..and this ain’t no rumor- it is fabulous! Really…next time you walk past- stick your head inside the lobby at 1701 Locust St.
-I just implemented a new menu button on my site “The Newest 50 Condos In Center City.” That info will of course be updated daily for my condo junkies that love to stay on top of everything here in town.
-I just got my first “Multiple Bid” situation for the Spring 2014 selling season- A sign of the impending “sellers market” (watch prices rise this year pretty much across the board).  The spring market is starting real early this year- and will run through say mid-July.
-I just saw one of the most jaw-dropping condos I have seen in town- At 1352 South St. A super duper stunning corner unit- the likes of which I have never seen in Center City. This is the only one like it in the building.
Asking under $800k. I was like, damn…..
-Center City One at 1326 Spruce St. has completed (most if not all) of their common hallway repairs and they look stunning. Building is so well run and they are now offering options for folks to replace their own exterior windows and doors. Touche.
-I heard that the southwest corner of 5th and Walnut was recently purchased by a large Center City developer and will be turned into a fairly dramatic new condo high-rise building. I overheard that little noodle from a big wig in the company who was in good spirits when he started singing like a canary.
-The Former Shirt Corner (NE corner 3rd & Market) is adding a CVS and 59 units…not sure if condos or apartments.

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February 17, 2014

Philly Condo Buyers- Who Are They?

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 11:43 am
blog
Of course I get tons and tons of folks emailing me looking to move into a Center City condo…no surprise there. But you might be surprised by who is actually buying in town. Here are some common groups of buyers who I see buying condos in Center City.  Certainly others exist, but this is a generalization of what I see:
1) The Returnees – Grew up in Philly, moved elsewhere, and now returning. Being close to friends and family is often the draw.
2) The Empty Nesters- Shedding themselves of 75,000 pounds of unused house. They can often be very happy happy buyers who are starting a new chapter in their lives. I enjoy working with and watching them get excited for a move into town.
3) The Weekend Warriors- They have done the shore, now they spend their weekends in town. Much more common than you think.
4) The Kids Who Have Parents Who Have $$ – Very common. Very.
5) The Transferee- Maybe came to town via a promotion- and wants to be close to work. Moving to town wasn’t on the radar. Doesn’t matter- he or she is here now.
6) The Growing Families- It used to be that young adults would get married , and get a dog, two kids, a station wagon, and BOOM- off to suburbia they went. No longer the case. They now often represent our move up buyers in Center City.
7) The Investors- Who know that the city is the place to be, and that their investment will provide a handsome return year after year after year. Unless say Univ. of Penn moves to say the moon…a condo may easily be a magnet for a tenant.

8) The First Timers- The good ole reliable first time buyer. The backbone of the Center City condo market- always has been, probably always will be.

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February 10, 2014

Philly Real Estate: Views Can Mean Value – But Not Always

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,For Sellers,General Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 11:56 am

…and floor height isn’t the only factor affecting values within the same buildings.

Probably the most overlooked effect on value to high rise condominium is the view that any particular piece of Philadelphia Real Estate has to offer. 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 Realtor who specializes in condo sales I have learned a great deal about the effect on value that particular views may or may not have, and any given buyer’s perception of how that view might affect their desire to purchase.

2

1) It is possible for a posh condo to nearly double in value if it has a highly coveted view. Think Central Park.

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 high rise condo can be very appealing 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.

At times, the need for a good view can be bypassed if a condominium has great light. There are many Rittenhouse Square condos that offer tremendous natural light, be it north or south, east or west, that don’t necessarily have great visuals. I find a lot of buyers will fore-go a great view if the natural light is strong. Conversely, I find that a great view will not overcome the weakness of a dark condominium. I would suggest that natural light is a stronger motivator than a great view- at least in terms of resale ability.
So know that it has been my experience that view does indeed affect resale price and the time it may take to sell any given Philadelphia condominium. Though direct “park views” are the most desirable, there are compensating factors, and issues that can compensate for a lovely tree lined view of say, Washington Square. One needs to consider the window size, ceiling height, amount of natural light, and of course floor height. All factors should be considered when determining the resale ability of any given Philadelphia condo.

Mark Wade
www.CenterCityCondos.com
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox and Roach Realtors
530 Walnut St. #260 Philadelphia, PA 19106

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January 6, 2014

Dumbass Power Plays in Philly Real Estate

Filed under: Center City Real Estate,For Buyers,For Sellers,Of Interest to Buyers,Of Interest To Sellers,Real Estate: Condominiums — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 10:20 am

I have been selling real estate in exclusively in downtown Philadelphia for twenty-five years. I have done some stupid things in my career, and I have witnessed many buyers and sellers making equally stupid moves.  I often see buyers and sellers either pinching a dime for a dollar, or just doing some absurd moves that are much more trouble than the expected payoff. And I am sure this is not limited to just Center City buyers…I have no doubt the scenarios play out in every real estate community:

  dumbass



 

Scenario 1:  Having the Last Word
Seller asks $499k for a condo
Buyer and Seller go back and forth, and after a few days, buyer say $480,000 is my “Highest and Best” offer for this parcel. And then seller comes back and says $480,001. Really? You really want to be a douche bag and say that? You are pissing the buyer off, and it will probably  cost you much much more in terms of anxiety, anguish, and animosity within the transaction as you are locked into a legally binding contract with this buyer for say the next 60-90 days. Perhaps you should just zip your lip and take the freakin’ $480k instead of having to have the last word. Don’t forget, buyers still have to perform a home inspection.


Scenario 2: Can’t See the Forest For the Trees
Seller asks $499k for a condo
This Philadelphia condo  is a bank-owned sty that should be selling for $800k if it weren’t so dirty, missing all the appliances, and listed with Susy Bag O’ Donuts out of Erie, Pa. (it happens…bank foreclosures are often listed by those with no connection to the area). And as a buyer, you get the Big-Brain idea to come in at $400k…because after all, the market is slow, weak, and uncertain.  OK….you are an idiot. If you can’t recognize such an overtly strong bargain, and see that the huge upside is the fact that the condo is grossly underpriced at $499k….then maybe you need to do a little more homework on prices and values here in Center City.


Scenario 3: Why Aren’t you Using a Magic Wand?
Sellers asks $499k for a condo
As a buyer, you top out at $480,000 and the seller will still not accept your offer. And recent “comps” suggest the seller is correct as no other unit in the building has sold for under $500k. You then turn to your Realtor and complain that you can’t get the property for $480k. And you are relentless. Even in the face of the facts. But you persist. You dump your Realtor because he or she refuses to wave their magic wand and make this deal happen. You then drive down the road, and see your Realtor Singing and Dancing in the middle of the intersection of Broad and Walnut.

No one likes a whiner. Not even in a “slow, weak, and uncertain” market place. There are bargains to be had and deals to be made. Opportunity exists in all market conditions, and the current state of affairs in Center City- which has weathered the overall real estate storm fairly well- should indeed be taken into account when negotiating the purchase or sale of any parcel in Philadelphia. But knowing when you have crossed the line and driven right into Crazy Town Pa. might be helpful when finding the right piece of Center City real estate. And help you negotiate the best possible, realistic terms. 

Mark Wade CenterCityCondos.com

I welcome feedback!

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530 Walnut Street, Suite 480
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Direct: 215.521.1523 ~ Office: 215.627.6005
Fax: 215.627.3142
Email: Mark@CenterCity.com
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