Neighborhoods

Philly’s white-hot spring real estate market by the numbers: The best in 5 years

Point Breeze had the most sales, followed by Bella Vista and Queen Village and Fishtown.

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Danya Henninger / Billy Penn
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Earlier this spring, a real estate agent gauged the the craziness he’d witnessed — offers 10K over the asking price, all-cash; a house bought, sight unseen, during a blizzard — and remarked to Billy Penn that 24 hours in this market was “an eternity.”

It’s now apparent he was right. The numbers are out, and the Philadelphia real estate market had its hottest spring of the last five years. According to statistics from the City Controller’s Department, 4,304 houses were sold in the spring months of March, April and May. The number represents an 11 percent increase over the same time period in 2016 and 28 percent increase compared to 2015.

Sales were spread throughout the whole city, but a few of the usual suspect neighborhoods were at the top. The 19146 area code containing Point Breeze registered the most sales with 283, followed by Bella Vista and Queen Village’s 19147 with 207. Fishtown’s 19125 had 202 sales.

Why were so many more homes sold this spring than in the past? Like many other big cities across the country, supply of homes for sale is low but increasing. Coupled with what real estate agents described as Philadelphia continuing to grow as a destination city while remaining comparably affordable, this spring turned into a feeding frenzy. Houses regularly went for the asking price or above the asking price hours after they went on the market in neighborhoods throughout the city.

“I think Philadelphia was undervalued for so long that it’s had room to really go up,” said Karrie Gavin, an agent with Elfant Wissahickon. “Only time will tell, but it seems to me that there’s still room for these values to increase on the whole, citywide, just because of what’s happening in the city, and because we’re the last affordable, wonderful city. And people are discovering that and demand is really high.”

For anyone looking to buy, the good news is the spring demand may cool off. Late summer, according to Zillow, is the best time to buy in Philly.