Can Philly still be shrinking?So, as most people know, the City of Philadelphia has been shrinking dramatically for the past 50 years or so. While we once had 2.5 million, we now have about 1.5. (To put that in perspective, we have lost more people in the past 50 years than Boston has total.)
Yet lately, there have been some signs that maybe the flight has stopped. For example, the Daily News had a story today about the amazingly booming condo market, where people are paying anywhere from a few hundred grand to a few million dollars to live in a development in any number of neighborhoods in the City. The idea that people are willing to pay that much to live in Philly, rather than outside it? A wonderful thought.
And, frankly, the Condos seem more like the tip of the iceberg. The reality is that existing homes are going for more and more all over the city. Think for a minute, of all of the booming neighborhoods in Philly. Besides the obvious ones, ie. Northern Liberties and Old City, there is:
Fairmount, which is busting at the seams, expanding into Brewery Town on one end, and North Philly on the other;
Southern Kensington, or, "North of Northern Liberties" as well as Fishtown; or
East Falls, with new restaurants and coffee shops going up constantly, and booming home prices; or
A variety of South Philly neighborhoods, including Bella Vista, "South of South," and now, "SoWa," South of Washington; or
West Philly, where a simply shell of a home anywhere reasonably close to Penn goes for ridiculous amounts... And the list could go on.
There is, without a doubt, a certain amount of a housing bubble going on, much like the tech bubble in the 90's, and it will pop at some point. (Hopefully, Philly, which has been undervalued for so long, will see less of a fall than other locales.)
But that said, with so many people willing to spend so much money in so many different neighborhoods in Philadelphia, is it possible that we are still shrinking? I simply cannot see it... And I am pretty sure that when the new Census population estimates are released in July, Philadelphia may in fact see something it has not seen in over 50 years: Real, measured growth.