The City of Philadelphia's Planning Commission released a comprehensive plan that includes very optimistic growth statistics. The commission stated that over the next 25 years, Philadelphia could attract 100,000 residents and create more than 40,000 jobs.
The hopeful report was based on six different population forecasts with distinct approaches for gathering information. All major local statisticians that work on population growth models signed off on the report and concluded that the conclusions were realistic.
The planning commission's report clearly shows how Philadelphia is on a path to sustained growth, and perhaps more accelerated development compared to other similar sized cities. One reason for this may be the lower cost of living. Philadelphians enjoy up to 40% less rents, taxes, and public transportation costs than New York City. The train system between the two cities is excellent which supports a daily Phila-NYC commute. This means more and more people are living in Philadelphia, taking advantage of lower costs of living, and still working in New York City.
Philadelphia is also seeing a higher retention of college graduates staying in the area. With the onset of the financial collapse in 2007, high paying jobs on Wall Street have declined. Students graduating from some of Philadelphia's best universities, in many cases, are having more luck finding employment close to home.
To make room for the anticipated growth, the Philadelphia Planning Commission has suggested various public works projects that include adding transit lines, developing new park facilities, and designating a new city agency to manage vacant and underutilized land. City officials describe the plan as long term and wide-ranging.
The expansion in population, jobs, and public infrastructure may be excellent news for real estate owners in Philadelphia. As the City becomes more connected and developed, more opportunities will be created and residents will see property values appreciate. Philadelphia is also shifting from a manufacturing to a service economy. This means that there will continue to be a surplus of vacant industrial buildings to convert to residential, commercial, or mixed-use properties. These conversions can further help to improve blighted areas and expand city resources to more neighborhoods.
Although the past few years have been rough, the future may be bright for the City of Brotherly Love.