Philadelphia is becoming a millennial powerhouse

Our wonderful city at night. Courtesy of PARJustListed.com.

 

Here are some interesting stats/stories to help paint the picture:

– “Philly’s Millennial Population Growing Fastest Among 10 Largest US Cities

– “Where Millennials Live in Philadelphia

– “Two Philadelphia-Area Companies Named Best Places to Work for Millennials

– “Philadelphia Ranks as the Best City for Millennials to Work & Live” (which coincidentally, is the inspiration for this blog post)

There is even more great/positive press out there for Philadelphia and the millennial contingent, but rather than post a few more links that all prove the same thing, I thought it would be beneficial to discuss the subject.

So let’s break this topic down PUL.com-style:

– The obvious reason … our affordable housing.

If you compare the average cost to buy a home in Philadelphia, versus the average cost to buy a home in Texas, The City of Brotherly Love & Sisterly Affection may not seem like a steal. But … If you compare the average cost to buy a home in Philadelphia, versus the average cost to buy a home in New York, Philadelphia is the deal of the century.

We also look good compared to DC and Boston, just sayin’.

Now, if the average buyer only focused on areas like Center City or University City, the good deals may not seem as prevalent. But a quick home search in South Philadelphia or Northwest Philadelphia really opens up the doors for most young buyers, and still provides all of the benefits (e.g. convenient location, public transportation, neighborhood restaurants/festivals, etc).

I know a lot of the naysayers out there will say that millennials would prefer to rent than buy, or that millennials fear the commitment associated with owning a home; there is some truth to that. But when the monthly “cost to own” is less than the “cost to rent” (and Philadelphia’s diversified renter pool typically allows the option to keep your home as an investment rental property, even in the event you have to leave the city and prefer not to sell), this is where Philadelphia’s home buying affordability starts to really shine through.

– Our city’s vibrant cultural, dining, and entertainment scenes.

If you are a traveler that likes to “see and do things” on your trips, Philadelphia is a cornucopia of culture.

There’s the history: Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, everything Benjamin Franklin, etc. There’s the food: Stephen Starr, Jose Garces, our Top Chef alum, cheesesteaks, roast pork, etc. There’s the art: Philadelphia Museum of Art, Barnes Foundation, more public art than most national/international cities, etc. There are the sports: Eagles, Phillies, Sixers, Flyers, and Union (oh, and Rocky). There’s the music: Electric Factory, Union Transfer, The Fillmore, Johnny Brenda’s, etc.

I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Most people in the US (as well as around the world) do not realize how big and awesome Philadelphia really is, along with all of the things it has to offer its visitors and residents.

If you’re looking for more, VisitPhilly.com is a great website to peruse.

– Our world-class universities and hospitals.

Second only to Boston, Philadelphia has more to offer in the “Eds & Meds” category than any other city in the US; hands down.

UPenn and Drexel keep getting bigger and harder to get into. Temple has created its own neighborhood. Villanova just won the NCAA title. Need I say more.

Our hospitals are not only great for those looking to become doctors and/or medical specialists, but they offer great job opportunities once a degree is in hand. Oh, and let’s not forget that Philadelphians have access to some of the best healthcare institutions in the world, whether you are in the city proper or in the suburbs.

So, what does all of this have to do with millennials you say? Well, a lot.

Most millennials strive to go to college; Philadelphia has some of the best. Post-college, most millennials plan to work right away; Philadelphia has great co-op/intern programs, job opportunities, and a vibrant entrepreneurial community. When not working, millennials enjoy their meals out; Philadelphia has so many restaurants, it can be hard to make a decision sometimes. Finally, millennials are less into owning cars and more into public transit; tons of SEPTA trains, subways, and buses in/around Philadelphia.

Needless to say, millennials love Philadelphia.

Our city checks all of the appropriate boxes, and offers a convenient US location to boot. Staying relevant to younger generations around the world is an obvious bright spot in Philadelphia’s promising future.

Philadelphia is emerging as a tech city

Tech - Tetris Cira

 

What do you typically think of when you hear the phrase “Top Tech Cities?”

I don’t know about you, but I typically gravitate toward San Francisco/San Jose (aka Silicon Valley), New York, Boston, and Austin. Those are cities I hear about all of the time, especially in the start-up/tech world.

I also happen to be a big fan of Bloomberg TV, which makes those aforementioned city names even more repetitive.

Welp folks, we can now begin to discuss Philadelphia in that category as well. Ironically, this blog post is also kicking off Philly Tech Week 2016, so don’t forget to check out the upcoming highlights between now and 5/7.

The Huffington Post recently posted an article titled, “Top 10 Cities Techies Should Consider Moving to In 2016.” Guess who was #5 on their list (tied with NYC, mind you)? Yup, it was Philadelphia. That’s a big one for myself and my fellow Philadelphians, considering we are not typically associated with other top US cities for tech.

At least, not yet and not often.

I know, I know. Blogs are subjective, they are not fact; case in point. But, you can’t ignore that Philadelphia is now getting noticed in ways it never has before.

Part of the reason the term “tech” walked into our city’s corner and took a seat is because of local, successful companies like RJ Metrics, DuckDuckGo, Curalate, and Scholly (a company which also happens to work out of the same space as Copper Hill, at Pipeline).

Now, to compare our city to one of our Northeastern neighbors (let’s go with Boston, as we have similarities), a big reason why Boston gets so much credibility for their start-up/venture scene is due to its abundance of top-quality universities, millennial population growth, and vibrant city lifestyle. This is where Philadelphia is also starting to get noticed, as we too have great universities (ever heard of Penn, Drexel, Temple, and the rest of our higher education crew), a growing millennial population (the fastest growth rate among the 10 largest cities in the US), and the popularity of Center City/University City as amazing live/work/play environments (hello 2nd largest downtown).

So, is Philadelphia the best city to be in if you are in the tech industry? No. Is Philadelphia pushing its way into the overall discussion because of the reasons I just mentioned? Yes.

People are starting to notice Philadelphia’s forward-thinking momentum and valuable assets: an affordable quality of life, dynamic cultural/food scene, and convenient Northeastern US location (as stated in the article: the beach is an hour in one direction, the mountains are an hour in the other direction, etc).

These are reasons why our city is on the rise and gaining credibility on both a national and international scale.

Based on “Top 10 Metro Areas,” Philadelphia is ranked #2 for Affordability

Image courtesy of The Philadelphia Foundation

 

Interesting title, I know. This one can be looked at a few different ways, so let me elaborate a bit.

There is a difference between “Top 10 Cities” and “Top 10 Metro Areas.” Top “city” means that the population of the city proper (within a city’s borders) is what classifies its population. Here is a list of the top 10 cities by population in the US (according to Wikipedia):

1. New York, NY
2. Los Angeles, CA
3. Chicago, IL
4. Houston, TX
5. Philadelphia, PA
6. Phoenix, AZ
7. San Antonio, TX
8. San Diego, CA
9. Dallas, TX
10. San Jose, CA

Top “metro area” means that the population of the metropolitan statistical area (or MSA, which defines a “core” with an “adjacent territory that has a high degree of social and economic integration with the core”) is what classifies its population. Here is a list of the top 10 metro areas by population in the US (again, according to Wikipedia):

1. New York – Newark – Jersey City
2. Los Angeles – Long Beach – Anaheim
3. Chicago – Naperville – Elgin
4. Dallas – Fort Worth – Arlington
5. Houston – The Woodlands – Sugar Land
6. Philadelphia – Camden – Wilmington
7. Washington – Arlington – Alexandria
8. Miami – Fort Lauderdale – West Palm Beach
9. Atlanta – Sandy Springs – Roswell
10. Boston – Cambridge – Newtown

So as you can see, there is a difference between a major city’s population, and a major urban area’s population; as noted in the 2 different lists above. Since every city/area has its own borders, tax laws, and rules, population sizes will vary; which is why it’s always good to look at both when analyzing numbers/data.

Take Boston, for example. The city itself is ranked #24 by population (about 655,000 people), and the metro area is ranked #10 by population (about 4,750,000 people). So as you can see, there is a big difference between the population of “Boston” and the population of the “Boston Metro Area.”

Okay, enough fact finding. Let’s get down to business.

For purposes of the article that inspired this post, NerdWallet used “metro area” to calculate its numbers. In my opinion, that’s a more valuable approach as it more closely looks at each different “area” in its entirety; not just within “city” limits.

This is where Philadelphia performs very well. When you look at our local MSA (Philadelphia, Camden, and Wilmington), Philadelphia’s real estate market is affordable.

How affordable exactly? Well, out of the Top 10 largest MSAs, Philadelphia ranks #2 in affordability (just behind Atlanta, Sandy Springs, and Roswell) and #24 out of the top 100 US metro areas.

Considering Philadelphia is the 5th largest city in the US, and the 6th largest metro area in the US, that’s pretty d*mn good.

Why, you may ask? Because it means that Philadelphia has a lot to offer its local residents as a major US city/area, while keeping its home ownership cost low. Since owning a home is typically the largest expense any person/couple/family carries on a monthly basis, this bodes well for those who live in/around Philadelphia.

To top it off, this study doesn’t account for location; and you all know I love to talk about Philadelphia’s convenient US location.

So to summarize my own opinions/thoughts, Philadelphia is an affordable urban area to own a home and a convenient urban area to live in. In my profession, those are the 2 most important reasons why people choose to buy real estate.