Philadelphia Neighborhoods Where Rent is Increasing the Most

An improving economy, an increase in employment and a decade of population increase means more residents moving into some of the nicest neighborhoods. But this demand has a consequence of pushing rents higher in those districts.

We compared the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in every Philadelphia neighborhood on Rent.com to prices in those same spots a year ago. From this, we determined the top five Philly ‘hoods where rent has increased the most. So where are the most expensive Philadelphia neighborhoods? The answer is everywhere from NoLibs to West Philly and some spots you might not expect.

5. Rittenhouse Square

rittenhouse square

  • Price increase over the past year: 12.54 percent
  • Average rent for one-bedroom in Rittenhouse Square: $2,322
  • Average rent for one-bedroom in Philadelphia: $1,896

In the 1680s, Philadelphia city founder William Penn laid out his “Greene Countrie Towne,” planned around his original Five Great Public Squares. The plot, initially known as Southwest Square, is now called Rittenhouse Square, as is the neighborhood that grew up around it. Named for David Rittenhouse, the first director of the U.S. Mint, the area continues to attract some ‘bank.’

On sunny days, the vibrant park is filled with artists, dog walkers, organic food stands and lunching office workers. And surrounding the park is an upscale mix of high-rise luxury apartments, five-star hotels, al fresco dining and trendy coffee shops.

The towering apartment buildings casting shadows over the park are home to some of the highest rents in the city, where many local athletes and celebrities reside. And elsewhere around the neighborhood, arts and cultural institutions abound, including the Curtis Institute of Music, Adrienne Theater, Philly Improv Theater and Rosenbach Museum, as does fashionable shopping down Walnut Street.

While never an inexpensive place to live, rents here rose even more in the last year, up 12.54 percent to live in the highly desirable neighborhood.

Related: 27 Things Everyone from Philadelphia Knows To Be True

4. University City

university city

Photo courtesy of Michael Hochman
  • Price increase over the past year: 12.91 percent
  • Average rent for one-bedroom in University City: $2,404
  • Average rent for one-bedroom in Philadelphia: $1,896

Tucked in along the western bow of the Schuylkill River, University City is the heart of West Philadelphia. As its name suggests, living in University City affords the opportunity to experience the vibrancy of the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University and University of the Sciences campuses. But it also offers access to the collegiate museums and galleries, gastropubs and bistros and college sports and live entertainment associated with campus life.

Luckily, the area is a perfect spot for “adulting” life as well, with big-city urban ambiance, several of the nation’s top hospitals and public green spaces, including The Woodlands, Penn Park and the rooftop Cira Green. And along the riverbank, a second downtown is rising, the original Cira Center above 30th Street Station, the vertically-combined office-hotel-apartment site FMC Tower (the seventh tallest building in the city) and the under-construction Schuylkill Yards’ massive multi-tower and public space redevelopment project.

While much of the neighborhood is dominated by the universities, rents are certainly not on the college student budget. And in fact, rents in the area — among the city’s priciest — rose 12.91 percent year to year.

Related: The 5 Best Philadelphia Neighborhoods for Sports Fans

3. Near Northeast Philadelphia

near northeast philadelphia

Source: 7400 Roosevelt
  • Price increase over the past year: 15.22 percent
  • Average rent for one-bedroom in Near Northeast Philadelphia: $928
  • Average rent for one-bedroom in Philadelphia: $1,896

“The Northeast” is a name that conjures images of retail outlets, rowhouses and traffic along Roosevelt Boulevard for long-time Philadelphians. But the southern half, known locally as the “Lower Northeast,” has become one of Philly’s hottest residential growth markets.

The area, which lies between Pennypack and Tacony Creek Parks from Montgomery County to the Boulevard, includes residential neighborhoods like Fox Chase, Lawncrest, Castor and Rawnhurst. It’s a natural progression for growth, as the region is northerly-adjacent to the suddenly-trendy blocks of Frankford and Wissinoming.

The combination of suburban-style living with convenience into Center City has always been the allure of the Near Northeast from the early days of passenger rail lines in the 1800s. That still exists today, with both Roosevelt Boulevard and the SEPTA Fox Chase line being integral arteries from the neighborhood into downtown.

But within its borders, the Near Northeast is also attractive thanks to its extensive access to some of Philly’s most treasured wooded parks, as well as suburban retail such as Roosevelt Mall, one of the largest shopping centers in Philadelphia.

People are noticing the growth of the Lower Northeast, and while rents remain affordable, they’re on the rise with a yearly increase of 15.22 percent.

2. Burholme

burholme

Source: Montclair Duplex Apartments
  • Price increase over the past year: 17.49 percent
  • Average rent for one-bedroom in Burholme: $972
  • Average rent for one-bedroom in Philadelphia: $1,896

For those who want to live in the suburbs but just can’t give up that Philadelphia mailing address, the micro-hood of Burholme is the perfect mix. A hamlet on the edge of the aforementioned Near Northeast, Burholme surrounds the tab along the city border created by Montgomery County’s Cheltenham. The village is nearly entirely residential, with pockets of retail and dining, mostly along Cottman Avenue and particularly around the Cottman, Rising Sun and Oxford Avenue intersections.

Much like Lower Northeast as a whole, the name of the game in Burholme, which translates to “house in a woodland setting,” is convenience. Both Ryers and Cheltenham stations on SEPTA’s Fox Chase regional rail line lie within the neighborhood, making Center City just minutes away. Burholme sits between the edges of Rhawn Point section of Pennypack Park and the Tookany Creek ballfields of Tacony Creek Park.

And the neighborhood contains the namesake Burholme Park, which features a large wooded area, several athletic fields (plus a giant hill for winter sledding), a driving range and miniature golf course, as well as the historic Ryerss Mansion and Museum.

The small precinct doesn’t have a ton of rental opportunities, so as its desirability increases, rents are equally on the rise, with growth of nearly 17.5 percent from last year.

1. Northern Liberties

northern liberties

  • Price increase over the past year: 28.02 percent
  • Average rent for one-bedroom in Northern Liberties: $1,817
  • Average rent for one-bedroom in Philadelphia: $1,896

Coming of age in the 1800s as a factory district and home of the famed Schmidt’s Brewery for 130 years, Northern Liberties is one of Philly’s most popular redeveloped neighborhoods. Over the last decade, “NoLibs” transformed into a trendy community of young professionals, students and artists.

A focal point of the neighborhood is the European-style urban plaza called The Piazza at Schmidt’s Commons, whose centerpiece is a one-acre triangular open-air courtyard. The courtyard features a 40-foot outdoor LED HDTV, where visitors can catch a game on the screen while relaxing outside one of the brewpubs that ring the space or lounging on beach chairs and blankets on the plaza.

And new next door is the Piazza Pod Park, a public space, including mobile shipping container-based food and drink vendors surrounding a 300-seat urban park.

Elsewhere around Northern Liberties is an abundance of sandwich spots and brewpubs along Liberties Walk, vegetarian fare and comfort food bistros down Fairmount Avenue and more.

The neighborhood is also known for live music, with The Fillmore Philadelphia, The Foundry, Johnny Brenda’s, Franklin Music Hall (formerly Electric Factory), Voltage Lounge and Ortlieb’s featuring touring artists most nights.

Yards Brewing Company is one of the most popular beer hangouts in the city, the riverfront Sugarhouse Casino bets it all on table games, slots and the state’s first sportsbook and both Liberty Lands and Orianna Hill Park offer green space for both person and puppy. And if you’re in the mood to roll a few frames, head to North Bowl, where they’re making bowling leagues cool again and tater tots cheesy again.

Even a decade into its renaissance, people are still flocking to NoLibs, pushing rents up a whopping 28 percent year to year, the steepest rise in the city.

Related: Best Philadelphia Neighborhoods for Nightlife

Methodology

To create this list, Rent.com calculated rental pricing for an average one-bedroom unit from all Philadelphia neighborhoods with sufficient available inventory on Apartment Guide and Rent.com, and ranked each to determine which neighborhoods contained the highest percentage increase from May 2018 to May 2019.

The current rent information included in this article is based on rates as of May 1, 2019, for multifamily rental property inventory on ApartmentGuide.com and Rent.com and is for illustrative purposes only. The data contained herein does not constitute financial advice or a pricing guarantee for any apartment.

Header Photo by Chris Murray on Unsplash
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Michael HochmanMichael is a Philadelphia-based writer with a variety of interests, including music, TV, politics, travel, and sports (Fly Eagles Fly!). His background includes a decade as a programming executive in network television, six years as a marketing executive at a technology company, and time at two magazines and two advertising agencies. He also sits on the board of a non-profit law firm that assists veterans with disabilities. Michael is a proud Syracuse grad (Newhouse) who has lived in Kansas, Chicago, Saratoga, and beyond, and can be found at @phillyparttwo.

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