Of all the numbers that tell the story of Philadelphia today, one stands out as an unambiguous expression of confidence in the city’s future.
Last year, developers received building permits for 2,815 units of new residential housing, the most approved in a decade. Those units are worth an estimated $465 million, the highest annual amount on record.
Investors appear to be betting that Philadelphia’s population, which rose for the seventh straight year in 2013 to 1,553,165, will keep growing and that many of the new residents, young and old, will be looking for new homes and apartments.
There is some demographic evidence to support this expectation. In recent years, the city has experienced rapid growth in its population of young adults, many of them well-educated and upwardly mobile. In addition, an increasing number of aging baby boomers are leaving the suburbs and moving into the city. And the middle-class population appears to have stabilized after decades of decline.