Archive for the ‘Logan Square’ Category

2200 Arch Street Condo Showcases Stylish Lofts

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

Philly is hitting its stride by rapidly gaining a reputation as a highly sought-after metropolitan city. As creative types and businesses continue to flock to the city in high numbers, living residences have started imitating architectural features of popular building designs reminiscent of many other cosmopolitan cities. Thanks to the luxury condominiums designed in the likeness of New York-style loft residences, walking down a bustling 2200 Arch Street might feel as if you’re walking through one of New York’s electric streets.2200 Arch Street Condos at Philly Living Blog

2200 Arch Street Condos Amenities and Features


At the 2200 Arch Street Condos, the lofts are designed for luxury. Located in the Logan Square neighborhood of Philly, the building houses 170 loft-style units available for rent. Sprawling wood beams, partially exposed mechanics, and hardwood floors contribute to the chic industrial-living space. With granite countertops, soundproof walls, and an elevator that provides amazing views of the river, 2200 Arch Street is not lacking in luxury. Likewise, balconies provide city views from each unit, and integrated on-site storage units offer other attractive features for better home living

To make it even more convenient for residents, the condominium features a washer and dryer, pet-friendly accommodations, a fitness center, and a 24-hour doorman for guaranteed security. For easy accessibility, a parking garage is attached to the building with an on-site parking space reserved for each housing unit. Thanks to expansive glass windows offering a stunning view of the river, this lavish condominium creates a beautiful living space in a popular location.

Convenient Location and a Gateway to Fun Locales

The central location in Philly of the 2200 Arch Street lofts make it simple for residents to easily walk to numerous interesting attractions around the area. Some of the allure of the area includes Fairmount Park, which is comprised of dozens of smaller parks and seven larger parks tallying up to 63 parks in total. The parks boast a variety of outdoor options and have a vast selection for many residents to participate in either sporting events or take part in countless scenic outings.

Likewise, 2200 Street Arch residents can immerse themselves in culture by strolling along the Art Museum District, otherwise known as the Parkway Museums District or the Park Way. Starting from LOVE Park to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Benjamin Franklin Parkway has many internationally acclaimed museums and educational institutions. Residents can take pictures by the Swann Memorial Fountain, re-enact the famous run on the “Rocky” steps, or marvel at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul.

If residents are looking for a quick getaway to other places, 30th Street Station is the place to be. Conveniently stationed within walking distance from 2200 Arch Street, 30th Street Station operates as one of the third-largest railroad terminals in the United States and is often branded as
Philly Living Blog: 2200 Arch Street Condos Philly’s version of New York’s Grand Central. This railroad station offers easy access and fast transportation to cities in the northeast like Atlantic City, Washington D.C. and New York City.


The Lowdown on Logan Square Schools

Monday, August 5th, 2013
Franklin Institute

The Franklin Institute partners with the School District of Philadelphia to run the Science Leadership Academy, an innovative Logan Square school that emphasizes scientific methods of learning. Photo by K. Grappa for the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation.

With so many cultural treasures close at hand, one might be forgiven for thinking that the decision to raise children in Logan Square ought to be a no-brainer. The Free Library, the Franklin Institute, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art are educations in themselves. But these institutions don’t provide the basic education that Logan Square schools offer, and that’s important to a child’s development as well.

So herewith we offer a guide to Logan Square schools so you can make an informed choice about where to send your offspring.

Logan Square Schools

Public Elementary: Albert M. Greenfield

Public High School: Julia Reynolds Masterman*, Science Leadership Academy*, Franklin Learning Center*

Parochial High School: Roman Catholic High SchoolJohn W. Hallahan Catholic Girls’ High School

Private: Friends Select School

Public Charter: Russell Byers Charter SchoolString Theory High School for the Arts & Sciences (currently enrolling 9th graders)

Have a Conversation with an Author at the Central Library

Monday, January 21st, 2013
Free Library, Central Library

The Central Library of the Free Library of Philadelphia has been stimulating conversation – and readers – since 1999 with its author talks.

Located at 1901 Vine Street on Logan Square, the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Central Library has been educating and enriching Philadelphians since 1927.  With over 7 million items, many special collections, a variety of programs and services, and even its own café, the Central Library is a bustling hub of information and fun.

Since 1993, the Central Library has presented its popular author events, featuring poets, novelists, historians, and activists, lecturing, answering questions, and signing copies of their books.  Several author events are held throughout each year, and many of them are free to the public.  Here’s a look at some interesting and thought-provoking author conversations you can enjoy in 2013.

Monday, February 4, 6:30 p.m.

On the first Monday of every month, the Central Library presents Monday Poets in the Skyline Room on the 4th floor.  In February, Monday Poets features Michele Belluomini and Elizabeth Bodien, both of whom have been published in various literary publications and released their own books of poetry.  This event is free to the public.

Tuesday, February 5, 7:30 p.m.

Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday with The King Years:  Historic Moments in the Civil Rights Movement, a conversation with Pulitzer Prize winner Taylor Branch.  Branch is known for his three-volume history of the Civil Rights Movement, America in the King Years.  He will be discussing pivotal moments of the Civil Rights Movement in historical context, from bus boycott to political revolution.  General admission is $15; students are $7.  Buy tickets online at

Thursday, February 7, 7:30 p.m.

Experience the lives of African Americans during the Civil War era with Envisioning Emancipation:  Black Americans and the End of Slavery, a conversation with historians Deborah Willis and Barbara Krauthamer.  Willis and Krauthamer will examine a series of photographs from their visual book, discussing the public and private lives of free and enslaved African Americans during the Civil War.  This event is free to the public.

Tuesday, February 12, 7:30 p.m.

Have a conversation with three popular novelists, Karen Russell, Claire Vaye Watkins and Amity Gaige.  Russell’s debut novel, Swamplandia! was a New York Times Best Book of the Year, and her new book, Vampires in the Lemon Grove, is a collection of short stories that blend horror with magical realism.  Watkins is an assistant professor at Bucknell University, and co-director of the Mojave School.  Her new collection, Battleborn, features stories set in the Nevada desert.  Gaige has been named one of “5 Under 35 Outstanding Emerging Novelists” by the National Book Foundation.  Her new novel, Schroder, follows the life of a young East German immigrant.  This event is free to the public.

- Jen Heller Meservey

Confused about Philly neighborhoods? There’s a map for that

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012
Philadelphia Neighborhoods on Google Maps

The Philadelphia Neighborhoods project on Google Maps

In Philadelphia, neighborhoods matter. (Not that they don’t elsewhere.) They confer – or deny – status to residents and property, which is why (1) arguments over which blocks are in which neighborhoods can get heated (2) residents of neighborhoods as varied as Point Breeze and Southwark coined new names for their communities in the hopes of erasing perceived stigmas.

To help people sort things out, the Philadelphia Neighborhoods collaborative project launched on Google Maps seeks to delineate the boundaries of every Philadelphia neighborhood. Like a wiki, anyone can add to or edit it, which should ultimately make it a pretty accurate guide to what blocks belong where.

The project currently has two maps active. Users might want to use the second to mark subsidiary communities within larger neighborhoods, such as Spruce Hill in University City, the Devil’s Pocket in Southwest Center City or the Gayborhood (or Midtown Village) in Washington Square West. Just be prepared for others to challenge you once you define their boundaries.

A few of the “50 Best Places to Eat” in Philly: Rittenhouse/Logan Square

Monday, March 19th, 2012

Ordinarily, we would give these two western Center City neighborhoods their own blog posts for a survey like this. But with only one of Philadelphia magazine’s “50 Best Places to Eat Right Now” – the Fountain Restaurant – located in Logan Square, it makes just as much sense to include it in the roundup for Logan Square’s tonier neighbor to the south.

Mural at Butcher and Singer

Mural at Butcher and Singer

Butcher and Singer, 1500 Walnut Street, 215-732-4444. Step through the doors of this former brokerage – Stephen Starr dusted off its name – and you’re transported back in time to Hollywood in the 1930s, when plush luxe was the order of the day. Steaks and chops are the things to order now – they’re decadent, as are the sides on the a la carte menu.

Fountain Restaurant, Four Seasons Hotel, One Logan Square, 215-963-1500. Along with Le Bec-Fin and Vetri, the Fountain Restaurant sets the standard for true fine dining in Philadelphia. It also proudly resists the trend towards the casual – you still have to dress up to dine here. You’ll be glad you did, for both the food and the service are memorable – the stuff of which special occasions are made even when there aren’t any.

Lacroix at the Rittenhouse, 210 West Rittenhouse Square, 215-790-2533. Another Philly fine dining superstar, Lacroix distinguishes itself on two fronts: its inventive global menu (“progressive international cuisine,” they call it) and its Lucullan feast of a prix fixe Sunday brunch. Another draw: the chef’s table, available Monday through Thursday evenings.

Le Bec-Fin, 1523 Walnut Street, 215-567-1000. Whether this doyenne of ne plus ultra dining will regain its faded luster once its new owner takes over is a question only time can answer – the restaurant is currently closed and will reopen in May.

Matyson, 37 South 19th Street, 215-564-2925. This pioneering office-canyon BYOB has changed chefs but is still in top form when it comes to serving up creative, globally inspired American-fusion cuisine. Like those that followed in its wake, Matyson emphasizes fresh, seasonal, local ingredients on its constantly-changing menu. The $45 tasting menu is a world tour in itself.

Mémé,  2201 Spruce Street, 215-735-4900. Chef David Katz wanted to create a restaurant where dining out feels like dining at home, and the result is this rustic, casual space near Fitler Square. Your family, however, probably didn’t think to pair swordfish with zucchini cakes, fava beans and tzatziki sauce for dinner. Creative combinations of familiar and ethnic ingredients distinguish the fare at Mémé.

Oyster House, 1516 Sansom Street, 215-567-7683. The Mink family – longtime owners of legendary Philly fish house Kelly’s of Mole Street – gave this old-school seafood standby an extreme makeover three years ago after buying it back from a previous owner. The rejeuvenated restaurant is nothing less than fantastic, boasting the best lobster roll in Philly (we’ll put it up against anything you can find in New England) and a great buck-a-shuck oyster special at the bar at happy hour, with the shuckers themselves as the featured performers.

Parc Restaurant


Parc, 227 South 18th Street, 215-545-2262. Stephen Starr’s French bistro-brasserie is oh, so authentic, oh, so loud, and oh, so good. Tied with neighbor Rouge as the best place to people-watch on Rittenhouse Square aside from the square itself, Parc boasts a large a la carte menu loaded with traditional French bistro fare, with a few “foreign” objets thrown in for the Francophobes in your party. The pastries especially are first-rate. In good weather, get a seat on the 18th Street sidewalk, both to take in the scenery and spare your eardrums.

Pub & Kitchen, 1946 Lombard Street, 215-545-0350. This neighborhood gastropub wins raves for its burgers – in particular, the Churchill burger, which some diners on Yelp rate the best in town. The classic tavern-fare menu offers much beyond burgers, but those who have a beef with eating animals will likely be disappointed with the choices. For everyone else, though, this place has few peers for its combination of ambience, affordability and quality of food.

Pumpkin, 1713 South Street, 215-545-4448. What’s on the menu? We wish you could tell you, but chef Ian Moroney probably doesn’t know either until he’s bought the ingredients. Really fresh, really local, and constantly changing are the hallmarks of the New American fare at this casually romantic South Street BYOB. In addition to wine, be sure to bring cash – Pumpkin doesn’t take credit or debit cards. If you’d rather do Pumpkin at your place, their next-door market offers sandwiches, soups, chili and breakfast all day to go.

Square 1682, Hotel Palomar, 121 South 17th Street, 215-563-5008. One problem with hotel restaruants is that the food often doesn’t live up to the decor. Square 1682 is a notable exception to this rule. Chef Guillermo Tellez presides over a kitchen as inventive as the contemporary decor at this bi-level New American hotspot. Tellez mixes things up with a palette of international spices, and there’s something for everyone – even vegans – available. Notable aside: the restaruant points with pride to its LEED certification, making it Philly’s first truly green restaurant.

Tinto, 114 South 20th Street, 215-665-9150. After putting tapas on Philly’s culinary map with his first establishment, Amada, chef Jose Garces refined and improved on the idea with this, the second restaurant in his still-expanding portfolio. Only these aren’t tapas, strictly speaking – they’re pintxos, their Basque cousin, prepared with the customary Garces flair. The menu also includes more substantial offerings as well as charcuterie and cheese plates. The PhillyMag editors recommend the chestnut soup.

–By Sandy Smith for

Photo of Butcher and Singer by Frank Roche, photo of Parc by shaggyshoo, both used used under a Creative Commons license

Philadelphia real estate market: First quarter trends

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Philadelphia Real EstateEven though the real estate market has been tumultuous for many recently, Philadelphia somehow seems to be doing much better compared to most other parts of the country. The local market has some activity, as in housing is being purchased and seeing increases. Additionally, construction of new single-family homes continues to go up, especially in the suburbs.

One point of prosperity in the Philly real estate market lies in the increase in existing home sales into December. December 2011 took in about five more percent of existing sales than December 2010 did. Sales from the end of last year thus far have been positive. This is something the housing market needs momentously. Thus far in 2012, there hasn’t been a significant increase in homes purchased but there is certainly a growing interest in property expected to take place. 

On the seller’s side, there is hope that rising apartment rental rates could drive some potential buyers back into the fold in 2012. The average rental rate for all Philadelphia apartments has gone up nearly eight percent in the last year alone. This equals an increase of nearly $80 in the past year alone. The thought is that those individuals or couples on the fence about renting and buying could take a more serious look at buying, especially with today’s mortgage rates.

Reports have shown that mortgage rates have been hitting record lows throughout the country, as well as here in Philadelphia, which is certainly inviting for potential buyers. Right now, a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is coming with 4.007 APR. With mortgage rates being this low and rentals continuing to increase in price, there is hope that some buyers will begin to see the benefits of buying in early 2012.

Right now, Philadelphia’s top selling areas have remained the northwestern and western areas of Center City. However, other parts of Philadelphia have retained their value attracting buyers and keeping the market going.

Right now, the big issue the city faces is sale prices, specifically for sellers. It is important to note that even though sales prices have dropped in this area, they have not plummeted as much as other cities across the country.


Rittenhouse Square

Rittenhouse Square, in western Center City, continues to show strength

In the coming months, there is reason to be optimistic that these prices can get a small pickup. Median prices were down about six percent in December from the previous year, but this could have been expected. The months of November and December are generally regarded as slow months for real estate anyway, but the numbers shouldn’t have too heavy an impact on the rest of the first quarter of 2012.

A glance at the early trends in 2012 Philadelphia real estate is truly a mixed bag right now. Coming off the month of December is usually not pretty for any market; however, the Philly market has looked rather stable in the early part of the year. Regardless, it should remain to be seen if factors such as mortgage rates, rising rental rates and an increase in existing home sales can positively influence the market for both buyers and sellers throughout the first half of 2012. 

–By Emma Crawford, special to

Let’s Do Brunch: 10 of Our Weekend Best

Friday, January 27th, 2012

And on the seventh day, ye shall rest. That means no cooking for you. Instead, treat yourself to a leisurely brunch at one of these great places. Whether you’re in the mood for a breakfast favorite or something more dinner-y, but on the light side, these stars of the weekend offer everyone living in Philadelphia a delightful, casual dining experience – and then some, in a few cases.

Weekend BrunchCarman’s Country Kitchen, 1301 South 11th Street (at Wharton), Passyunk Square. At this quirky, intimate diner, the best down-home cooking in Philadelphia comes with something special on the side: running conversation with the chef, who loves to mix it up on current events and whatever else is on her mind with the patrons. (Your blogger has had more than one super-cheap therapy session with Dr. Carman, who is guaranteed to remove whatever blues you may be feeling.) In good weather, you can dine al fresco at the picnic table mounted in the back of the pickup truck parked in front of the restaurant. Breakfast and brunch specialties served 7 days a week, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. BYOB.

Sam’s Morning Glory Diner, 10th and Fitzwater streets, Bella Vista. This “finer diner” is a daytime-only destination beloved by locals and lovers of fresh, local, seasonal ingredients. The weekend brunch menu features egg dishes, cakes and breads, salads and “samwiches” sure to please just about everyone. Steak lovers will appreciate the bargain-priced steak and eggs, and carb fans will find the challah French toast divine. Brunch served Saturdays and Sundays, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.

Sabrina’s Cafe, 910 Christian Street, Italian Market; 1804 Callowhill Street, Logan Square/Art Museum Area; 34th Street and Powelton Avenue, Powelton Village. Classic comfort food is Sabrina’s stock in trade, and the long lines of diners waiting for tables attest to its quality. Breakfast lovers will find their favorite meal served all day, and there are vegan and vegetarian items on the menu as well. Brunch specials include a burger of the week, eggs Benedict Florentine, and a continually changing menu of cleverly named creative items.Brunch served Sundays, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. BYOB.

Valanni, 1229 Spruce Street, Washington Square West. Cocktail lovers will find this uber-cool Gayborhood mainstay as much to their liking as diners will, with a drink menu that goes well beyond the standard Bloody Marys and Mimosas. The kitchen is incapable of turning out a mediocre meal, and brunch is no exception. The Monte Cristo sandwich is to die for. Outdoor seating in season. Brunch served Sundays, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Jones, 700 Chestnut Street, Washington Square. Stephen Starr’s Mom-food eatery does everything with a nudge-nudge, wink-wink attitude, with the only difference being that you are in on the joke at this very Brady restaurant. The food, however, is serious – all your favorite classics are on the brunch menu, or you can order items from the all-day menu as well. Chicken-and-waffles fans, take note. It’s also a great place to dine with the kids. Brunch served Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Honey’s Sit ‘n’ Eat, 800 North 4th Street, Northern Liberties. Bet you didn’t know there was such a thing as “Southern Jewish food.” Well, there is, and Honey’s has it. It might be more accurate to say that the best traditions of Southern and Jewish cookery coexist side by side on Honey’s extensive menu, which features breakfast, brunch and deli favorites all made with ingredients sourced from some of the best local farms, including East Kensington’s Greensgrow Farm. But there are some interesting intersections of the two: brisket soft tacos, for instance. Brunch served Sundays, 7 a.m.-5 p.m. BYOB.

Jake’s and Cooper’s Wine Bar, 4365 Main Street, Manayunk. Feeling like doing something grownup for brunch? Here’s the place to do it. This Manayunk pioneer offers the full white-tablecloth, fine-dining experience and a menu of more than 30 items, all emphasizing sustainably grown, local ingredients. If you prefer wine to a Bloody Mary with your brunch, Cooper’s offers 35 different wines by the glass and 50 by the bottle, including several excellent values. (Jake’s will undergo a total makeover starting in the spring of 2012.) Brunch served Sundays, 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m.

The Swann Lounge at the Four Seasons, One Logan Square. $73 per person and worth every penny, the Swann Lounge’s Sunday brunch buffet is the most sumptuous in the city. Patrons enjoy an embarrassment of riches: traditional breakfast favorites, a global appetizer menu, salads and classic entrees, all prepared with French flair and served with one of the city’s loveliest views as a backdrop. Service, as one might expect at an establishment of this caliber, is super-attentive without being intrusive. Brunch served Sundays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Mixto, 1141-43 Pine Street, Washington Square West. From the owners of Tierra Colombiana in North Philly’s Zona del Oro comes this delightful Cuban-Latin-Caribbean fusion alternative to the standard weekend brunch. Sure, Mixto offers plenty of traditional items for the less adventurous, but the Creole, Cuban and Caribbean dishes on the restaurant’s weekend breakfast menu offer a break from the ordinary. The wood-and-brick décor and exterior plantings will make you think you’ve left Philly for the tropics – and for a while at least, you have. Try their bacon Bloody Mary as well. Brunch served Sundays, 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Farmicia, 15 S. 3rd Street, Old City. Imbibers, do your wallet a favor: Dine here and take advantage of the only weekend brunch Happy Hour in town, with half-price drinks from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Farmicia – the marriage of former White Dog Cafe chef Kevin Klause’s and Metropolitan Bakery owners James Barrett’s and Wendy Smith Born’s visions – offers simply prepared artisanal fare in a relaxed environment, with an emphasis on local ingredients. Brunch served Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

–By Sandy Smith

Photo by Alice Park from Wikimedia Commons, used under a Creative Commons license

Highlights from the Philly Living Market Action Report, 4th Quarter 2011

Monday, January 23rd, 2012

On the whole, it’s still a good time to buy if you are in the market for real estate in Philadelphia. But some market conditions are beginning to trend more favorably for sellers as well.

That’s our reading of the data in the latest Philly Living Market Action Report.  Our quarterly guide to real estate market trends in Center City and surrounding Philadelphia neighborhoods offers grounds for cautious optimism in the months to come. While sales volume is down for the quarter relative to the previous year, it is up significantly from the previous month and quarter, running counter to the usual end-of-year downturn. The average selling price for homes in Center City and environs rose significantly from last quarter and one year ago, while the median selling price fell slightly in both cases. This suggests that buyers on the whole are still looking for value, even though a few opted for properties at the upper end of the scale.

In terms of prices, the highest prices continue to be commanded in the city’s two most desirable neighborhoods: Rittenhouse Square (19103) and Chestnut Hill (19118). Worth noting, however, is a continued, sustained upward trend in median selling prices in Southwest Center City and Point Breeze (19146), reflecting especially increased activity in the latter neighborhood.

Inventory continues to decline, offering the prospect of better prices for sellers in the months to come, but days on market rose slightly, suggesting buyers are still waiting sellers out. Sale price-to-list price ratio also dropped slightly from last year and last quarter but held steady from the previous month.

For full details on activity in Philadelphia’s neighborhood housing markets, request a copy of the latest Market Action Report at

Philadelphia street scene by Adam Jones, Ph.D., used under a Creative Commons license

Just in time for Restaurant Week, Marc Vetri delivers a raspberry

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

In case you have been living under a rock, the Center City District’s semi-annual Restaurant Week is just around the corner. Actually, “Restaurant Week” is now a misnomer – this popular event, now in its 10th year, runs for two weeks – from Jan. 22-27 and Jan. 29-Feb. 3 for the winter edition. (Another two-week Restaurant Week takes place in the fall.)

Le Bec-Fin

Maybe we could dine at Osteria for $65 a head, but we doubt we could get out of Le Bec-Fin for that little.

Philadelphia-area food lovers devour this event, and with good reason: more than 100 of Center City’s best restaruants offer special three-course prix fixe menus for just $35 for dinner – and many of them also offer special $20 lunch menus. (Tax, gratuity and alcoholic beverages are not included in the package deal.) For adventurous diners, Restaurant Week offers a chance to sample unusual fare and high-end dining experiences ($35 for dinner at Le Bec-Fin? Sign us up!) they might not otherwise consider.

The event draws large crowds to the participating restaurants. Many restaurateurs love Restaurant Week for the exposure it gives their restaurants to new patrons. So does the Center City District. Echoing economic development officials in other cities that run such events, the CCD’s Kristen Linker told Forbes last fall, “Since its inception in 2003, Center City District Restaurant Week has generated over $23.9 million in additional revenues for the restaurants and pumped over $90.7 million into Center City Philadelphia’s economy.”

Not among the fans, however, is Marc Vetri, quite possibly the most celebrated chef in Philadelphia today. In a status update on his Facebook page, Vetri said that the discount dining deal really isn’t that much of one, especially after figuring in the wine, tax and tip. You could dine at his Osteria restaurant in Fairmount, he said, for about what the Restaurant Week special would run per person after throwing in all the rest. (The full text of his complaint can be found on Foobooz.) Add the crowds and the harried waitstaff to that, he said, and you might be better off dining at the restaurant of your choice on a normal night.

To some, these are fighting words. To others, Vetri has revealed the emperor has no clothes. What do you think? Share your comments here.

–By Sandy Smith

Photo of Le Bec-Fin by TexasDex from Wikimedia Commons, used under a Creative Commons Share-Alike 3.0 license

It’s Official: Philly Housing Market Is Improving

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

Residential street in Center City PhiladelphiaThere are now 76 markets where the real estate picture is expected to look better in the months to come, according to the latest National Association of Home Builders/First American Improving Markets Index, released Jan. 9. The Philadelphia real estate market is one of those 76.

The addition of 40 metro areas to the monthly list of improving markets suggests that the fitful housing market recovery is spreading beyond the smaller markets that were not as heavily affected by the bursting of the housing bubble in 2008. Last month, there were 41 cities on the list. (Five of those – Anchorage, Alaska; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Canton, Ohio; Scranton, Pa., and Charleston, W. Va. – dropped off the list.)

“While relatively small metropolitan areas continue to dominate the list of improving housing markets, it’s important to note that several major metros in diverse parts of the country have now joined the field as well – including such metros as Dallas, Denver, Honolulu, Indianapolis, Nashville and Philadelphia,”NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe said in a news release. “This is an encouraging sign that gradually strengthening economic conditions are starting to take hold across a broader swath of America.”

The NAHB and title insurer First American base the index on trends in three categories: employment growth from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, house price appreciation from Freddie Mac, and growth in single-family housing construction permits from the U.S. Census Bureau. A metro area that has had six consecutive months of growth from a prior trough in all three areas gets added to the index.

What does this mean for you, the Philadelphia home owner or buyer? If you are in the latter camp, we suggest you accelerate your house-hunting timetable if you can. While home price growth is forecast to be modest for the year ahead, prices are expected to rise, and that means that you are more likely to get the home you want at a great price now than later. If you are a home owner, talk with your Realtor about the ideal time to put your home on the market if you are still weighing your options. Our team of real estate experts can assist you in determining when and how to best take advantage of a rising market.

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