Philadelphia MSA home-buying trends shift during COVID-19 pandemic

4-quarter moving average of the proportion of homes sold indicates demand dynamics shifting in the region

March 01, 2021
Homes sold by submarket cluster
  • An analysis of home sales data by county in the Philadelphia MSA shows that demand for home purchases in the City of Philadelphia may be falling.

  • By using a 4-quarter moving average, data from Redfin indicates Philadelphia County has historically accounted for roughly 22% of all quarterly home sales. However, since the beginning of 2019 and the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Philadelphia County’s preceding 12-month average share of homes sold has fallen from 22.1% between Q1 and Q4 2018 to 20.5% between Q1 and Q4 2020.

  • Southern New Jersey increased its proportion of sales the most by 3.9% to 31%. Interestingly, the largest observed proportional increases are from counties in Southern New Jersey and Delaware.

  • These results lend some credence to the notion that home-buyers are leaving urban centers for spacious suburban neighborhoods. Presumably, the bulk of home-buyers during the pandemic have been well capitalized individuals with at least a few years of work under their belt, which might prompt occupiers to reevaluate their space needs.

  • However, it may be too soon to discern a trend. In January 2021, Philadelphia accounted for 22.2% of home sales against 29.6% in Southern New Jersey.