Despite COVID-19, Philadelphia's real estate market is booming

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- COVID-19 has pummeled many industries, but, in Philadelphia, real estate is not one of them.

In July, homes sold at the fastest pace in history, taking just nine days on average in Philadelphia.

Francis Cuddy and his wife, Renee, of Roxborough are trying to buy a home, but have learned it's not a buyer's market.

"Interest rates are good, but there's not a lot of homes on the market. So prices have not gone down at all. In fact, they've gone up," said Renee Hykel-Cuddy.

Like many people working from home these days, they have new needs.

"I'd say the home office is the biggest. We have one desk and we fight over it," she said.

Real estate agent Maria Quattrone says the hottest sector in the city is core Center City, basically the Schuylkill River to the Delaware River and from Walnut Street to Washington Avenue. In terms of price, the sweet spot is from $200,000 to $400,000.

"And you also see in the suburbs, it's pretty crazy. multiple offers, especially under $500,000," Quattrone said.

Quattrone says low-interest rates and buyers from more expensive cities like New York are helping fuel the boom.

"Buyers want vacant property, new construction, and they want renovated property...no germs," Quattrone said.

Down the shore, prices are up across the board.

And like the Cuddys know too well, buyers must be pre-qualified and act fast.

"Like right now when we look on our real estate agent's portal, there's like five houses in a whole area, maybe, for sale and they go so fast," Hykel-Cuddy said.

Buyer and sellers are doing much more virtually and online, whether it be an open house or looking at inventory before stepping into a home.

Some buyers have also had to make their offers more appealing by paying cash if they can and waiving a mortgage contingency, moving up closing dates so sellers get their money more quickly, or writing personalized letters to sellers to pull on their emotions.
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