THE LANDSCAPE IN PHILADELPHIA Philadelphia’s apartment market was recently ranked the 2nd most restrictive in the country,2 with the city ranking 62nd among the 100 largest counties in terms of housing units permitted since 2010.3 Many point to the city’s high volume of housing regulations and taxation as a prime reason for its low rankings -- and that environment is likely to only get worse with increasing regulations.
The irony is that, too often, these expensive, well-meaning policies do not even help those they are intended to protect: the thousands of low-income residents and families in need of affordable housing. 26% of Philadelphians live in poverty and another 125,000 people are considered “severely cost-burdened renters” who pay more than 50% of their income on housing expenses.4 When licensed rental owners are forced to raise their rents to help cover the costs of increasing regulations, many renters in need of affordable housing often end up turning to the over 40,000 unlicensed, unregulated, yet more affordable rental units across the city – not even benefiting from regulations enacted on their behalf.
WHAT’S NEXT Expansion of new housing units in Philadelphia is now slowing down, with those in progress at their lowest point since the current cycle began in 2013.4 Property owners are looking to City Hall as they plan their next move – and if legislators cannot offer them new development incentives, they must at the very least not raise rents and hinder growth by enacting mounting regulations and taxation.
1 Source: National Association of Builders and National Multifamily Housing Council (June 2018). Regulation: Over 30 Percent of the Cost of Multifamily Development. 2 Source: National Apartment Association (2019). Barriers to Apartment Construction. 3 Source: Center City District & Central Philadelphia Development Corp (2019). Building Out from the Core, Housing Report. 4 Source: City of Philadelphia (October, 2018). Housing for Equity.
Copyright Pennsylvania Apartment Association East. All Rights Reserved. One Bala Plaza Suite 515 | Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004 Phone: (610) 664-1800 | Contact Us: