A recent analysis of census data by The Pew Charitable Trusts showed homeownership has fallen off sharply in Philadelphia in recent years, declining more than almost any other large city in the U.S.
According to the report, “Homeownership in Philadelphia: On the Decline,” just over half of all of the city’s housing units were owner-occupied in 2012, compared to approximately 60 percent in 2000. The number of rentals, conversely, increased significantly.
Of the nation’s 30 largest cities, the only city to see a more significant decrease over the same period was Phoenix.
The decline has been attributed to a number of factors, including stagnant incomes, increasing home prices and restricted credit. Many young families and individuals are also waiting longer to purchase a home.
Homeownership declined the most among groups considered to be traditional homebuyers—married couples and families with children—and rose among single-person households.
“The drop in homeownership in Philadelphia has gone largely unnoticed, perhaps because the city was not hit as hard as some other communities by the housing crash that occurred before and during the Great Recession,” Larry Eichel, the project director of Pew’s Philadelphia research initiative, said. “The shift from owning to renting, should it continue, has the potential to be a major change. Having fewer homeowners could alter the character of various sections of the city in any number of ways.”