Philadelphia has one of the most definitive architectural styles of any American city: the row house. According to the Center for Architecture and Design in Philadelphia, these ubiquitous narrow houses, some of which date back to the 19th century, make up about 70 percent of the city’s residential stock.
For the most prestigious townhouses in Philadelphia, look to the neighborhoods of Rittenhouse Square and Washington Square, both within walking distance of downtown, which is the heart of Philadelphia.
“If I want to be somewhere luxurious where I can eat, drink and be merry in nine seconds or less when I leave my door, this is it,” Ms Alperin said. “These are prime locations.”
Both neighborhoods attract executives and administrators from nearby universities and hospital systems, Ms. Alperin said. Prices for a five-bedroom townhouse in the area can range from $2 million to $6 million, depending on the level of improvement and proximity to the place. For properties with square views, expect to pay a 25% premium, Ms Alperin said. Those looking for an urban base could find a bedroom for around $700,000, she added.
More and more couples are choosing to buy in Philadelphia in order to be closer to where their children go to school or where their adult children work, said Susanna Kunkel, realtor at eXp Realty.
For those looking for a newly built home, Philadelphia has also added several high-rise luxury condo buildings in recent years. The 599-foot Laurel Rittenhouse Square is set to become the city’s tallest residential building when it completes construction this fall. A 4,652– square foot condo in development overlooking the park is listed for $8.3 million.
Other newly built low-rise condos on the plaza include 2110 Walnut Street or 2207 Chestnut, which cost between $2.8 million and $3.1 million.
Still, you won’t find the luxury stock in Philadelphia that you might find in other East Coast cities. A 2021 analysis by Lending Tree found that less than 2% of owner-occupied homes in the Philadelphia metro area were valued at or above $1 million, on par with metro areas like Providence, Rhode Island and Salt Lake City.
The ZIP code with the most homes sold for $1 million or more was 19103, near Rittenhouse Square, with 119 homes sold in 2021, according to data from Bright MLS. Rittenhouse was followed by 19146, which encompasses the area south of Center City and near Graduate Hospital, as well as 19106, which includes Washington Square and Old City. The two have seen around 60 homes sell for over $1 million.
While the number of high-end homes has increased, the Philadelphia market is still accessible. This has helped attract young millennial remote workers looking for an urban lifestyle, as well as older suburban homeowners looking to downsize.
“People come from New York because for $3 million in Philadelphia you can buy an ultra-luxury 3,000 square foot residence with a 10-year property tax abatement and parking for one car at 21st and Walnut. “, says Ms. Alperin. “You can’t do that in Dupont Circle in DC, you can’t do that in the Upper East Side in New York.”
For those looking for family living, Philadelphia’s mainline suburbs offer expansive green spaces with easy access to downtown via the city’s commuter rail corridor. Among the most exclusive enclaves is Wynnewood, home to some of the best public and private schools and stately colonial estates dating back to the turn of the 20th century. A 4,000 square foot home can cost around $2-3 million, depending on the surrounding square footage.
“Unlike suburban areas that have developed over the past 30 years, Philadelphia’s suburbs have historic homes that date back a hundred years,” Kunkel said. “Each township has its own unique character.”