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April 7, 2009

Strickland Row Condominiums

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

Strickland Row condos are named after William Strickland, who was a noted architect in 19th century Philadelphia, and is made up of a collection of six similar mansion-style homes, plus an adjoining approx. 8-story rear elevator building with about 68 individually owned units. It was declared a condominium in 1981. There are many variations between the units in detail and size. The largest is a massively gorgeous condo that is nearly 4000 sq. ft. All buildings surround an interior swimming pool and gracious green open space that few know of.

Characterized by a variety of sizes, styles, and layouts, Strickland Row offers some very competitive pricing for the Washington Square West area, and many of the units retain a high degree of original detail and charm. Incorporating some of the largest townhouses in Center City, the Strickland Row condos stretch from 1008-1020 Spruce St.

Parking can be rented about a block away at 11th and Clinton Streets, and easy access to Whole Foods, as well as Super Fresh on South St. makes living at these Washington Square West condos very convenient. You will find numerous neighborhood restaurants, as well as local video stores, and hardware stores with a block. This well known piece of Philadelphia real estate is valued for the low dollar per square foot, and many units have off-street settings which provide privacy, and a quiet setting.

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

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April 2, 2009

Six Degrees of Center City Parking and their impact on value and perception

Filed under: Center City Real Estate — Center City Philadelphia Real Estate Agent @ 4:30 pm

I have a number of buyers come at me on a daily basis, each with their own wants and needs, who all have varying degrees in their need for parking. Some potential buyers don’t own a car, some have two cars, and some wish they didn’t own a car. I have some buyers who will not consider, NOT FOR ONE MOMENT, a condo building that does not have on-site parking.  Here is what I know about parking here in Center City Philadedlphia:
1) On-site deeded parking. This is where you always are guaranteed the same parking spot every day. Heavenly, but costly-and not always an option.

2) Valet parking that is on-site and a rental situation. And that usually costs you a buck or two everytime you greet the valet dude.

3) Valet parking that is licensed- meaning you pay a lump sum for the rights to a parking spot in the garage, and probably pay some additional condo fees for that right to park on site.

4) On-site parking, that is not deeded, but referred to as “limited common area”. Often self park. You don’t own the space, but you have full use and enjoyment of that spot.

5) A parking spot as a condo. As in the Park-O-Minium, or a few lots in town (rare).

6) Street parking. You pay $40 a year, and get a parking sticker which allows you to park on the street in your neighborhood.

7) Rental parking in a garage, within 50 feet of the front door of your condo building.
My two cents is pretty easy to explain- If substitutable, open up to the idea of option #7 and you just might find that the world is your oyster, as far as the number of different buildings that you now may consider. There are a high number of fine Philadelphia Condos that don’t offer on-site parking, but say across the street in a public garage.

Feel free to leave a comment or drop me an email at and let me know your thoughts!

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

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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
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 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 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 condo’s 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, the 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 unit’s 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 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 in 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 ensure 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
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
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, and let’s chat!

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

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