New Report: Preserving Philadelphia’s Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing
Posted by Urban Land Institute Philadelphia on June 8, 2021
Quality affordable housing is at risk in Philadelphia. After a decade of robust new home construction or significant renovations to existing housing, the City of Philadelphia is experiencing a strong housing market and growth in many neighborhoods. This growth, however, is not without challenges. As market pressures increase and housing prices rise, housing affordability becomes a greater challenge.
According to a recent report issued by a joint partnership between the Division of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation, and Stepwise Real Estate Analytics, Philadelphia is home to a significant number of naturally occurring affordable housing (NOAH) rental units. This housing stock is currently affordable to residents of the neighborhood, is not regulated to remain affordable by a housing agency or fund (and generally not subsidized), and may be found across a wide swath of neighborhoods. While there are a few large property management companies operating in the City of Philadelphia (the City), many NOAH units are located within small multi-family structures and single-family rowhouses and are owned by landlords who own ten properties or fewer. This large population of small landlords is key to the City’s naturally occurring affordable housing market, yet many remain outside of the City’s oversight and are difficult to find, track, and support. City leadership and staff understand the need to preserve these units and the critical role these landlords play in the ongoing affordability of the City. To that end, the City turned to the Urban Land Institute (ULI) for assistance in evaluating the City’s current NOAH support programs and policies and making recommendations for improvement.
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