Thursday, April 4, 2013

More apartments planned for Kensington

After a friend gave me a tip to a good article, I decided to tweet it back on February 11th (here's the link to the article, if you don't feel like searching through my past tweets).

Now that Philadelphia is really starting to gain more national recognition as an affordable, livable, big city located in the heart of the Northeast US (located right in between NYC & DC, if you have never been), it not only opens up opportunities for home buyers but also for investors. After all, investors are usually the first ones to open up a ripe market. They sniff out the deals, improve the housing stock, and create new demand; sometimes it's inflated demand, but most times they are actually fulfilling a need.

In Philadelphia's case, I truly believe it is fulfilling a need.

Philadelphia's Kensington neighborhood has been getting a lot of press lately, from myself included. To put it simply, Kensington is what I would refer to as a "fringe" neighborhood (or "spillover" neighborhood); please don't take either of those terms the wrong way, as I'm simply referring to supply and demand as it relates to real estate.

Why am I putting it so bluntly (and potentially insulting local residents)? Because I am looking at it from a Realtor's perspective, which takes into account the demand of all buyers, sellers, investors, and renters today. I'm also trying to educate my loyal readers, and mean no disrespect from my terminology.

So, what is creating demand for Kensington in 2013?

Well in a general sense, it's a lot of pent-up demand from both Northern Liberties and Fishtown (2 fairly well-defined neighborhoods) with a similar location (e.g. close to Center City, Delaware River, highways, public transportation, etc). In other words, when prices get too high in Northern Liberties and Fishtown (supply is low, demand is high) investors and buyers start looking for alternative options; enter Kensington.

Now don't get me wrong, all 3 of these neighborhoods have long-time residents who stuck it out through the bad times (i.e. Philadelphia's industrial decline) and are still living in these neighborhoods and taking care of them (while reaping the benefits of price appreciation). But the real demand in 2013 is new Philadelphia residents looking to buy real estate in popular neighborhoods throughout the city, on the back of a real estate market that's just starting to heat up. Not only to settle down in a cool, hip neighborhood, but to be close to their job, Center City, highways, nightlife, restaurants, coffee shops, and a new found community spirit that is taking place in lots of Philadelphia's older neighborhoods.

The good news is that I am starting to see a lot of potential in Kensington. Not only because of the things I already mentioned above, but because there are some key anchor projects taking shape; like the one in this article that inspired this post (and this one too, if you want more information). That's how Northern Liberties was rebuilt (think Piazza, Liberties Walk, etc.), and I'm starting to see that same positivity in Kensington.

It could be 20 years before Kensington really starts to see its full potential, but there are positive signs in the news right now. It may come sooner than we all think.

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