The Pennsport neighborhood is foundational part of the Philadelphia real estate market with its fast appreciating property values and high livability standard. Pennsport property manager, and owner of Grow Property Management, Joe White, talks about what its like to live in Pennsport and also what property investors can expect.
Read The Video Transcript on The Philadelphia Pennsport Neighborhood Here
Good morning, I'm Joe White. This is the Grow Real Estate Investing podcast.
Today we're going to go hyper-local and talk about a neighborhood here in Philadelphia - The Pennsport Neighborhood.
So the podcast isn't going to be for the real estate investing community so much as directed more towards a Philadelphian. Somebody interested in perhaps you know investigating moving to the Philadelphia Pennsport neighborhood or somebody interested in investing in the Philadelphia Pennsport neighborhood. Someone who might be a buy and hold, rental property investor, or someone who might be a house flipper. Someone who wants to buy a house, renovate it, and then resell it.
You know I have a lot of experience with Pennsport and have a lot of opinions about Pennsport as I do with most Philadelphia neighborhoods, but in particular with Pennsport as I live here with my wife and my daughter.
This is where our home is located and this is our neighborhood. But I also work here. I own a property management company, Grow Property Management. We are a Pennsport property management company. We manage quite a few properties here in this neighborhood so I'm familiar with it from a couple of different angles.
Pennsport is bordered by a couple of different neighborhoods: Whitman to the south, and Whitman's an interesting neighborhood because not a lot of Pennsport folks know the name of the neighborhood that touches ours which is “Whitman”. So if you were to ask the average Pennsport resident what neighborhood is south of you, they wouldn't even actually know the name of Whitman. Whitman's kind of an interesting neighborhood, as you head south, from Pennsport.
Philadelphia kind of seems to get affected by its arterials. So anytime you have a road that's meant for a lot of traffic, the neighborhood changes. Whitman is no exception and the neighborhood can go down a little bit in property values from Pennsport and then if you were to head north, you head into Queen Village where the neighborhood and the prices jump considerably. The neighborhood becomes a lot more walkable there. Queen Village is very adjacent to historical Philadelphia and not too far of a walk to get to the Liberty Bell, not too far of a walk to get to Independence Hall.
Now to our west, we have Dickinson Narrows, you know which probably about three years ago was voted America's best neighborhood, so Pennsport is kind of bordered by a couple of interesting neighborhoods and what's interesting about Pennsport is it kind of started its life with the homes that we see now. The original homes that were built for longshoremen, so they're kind of building, including the home I live in it was kind of built for a modest, a very modest beginning user.
Now of course a now 100-year-old home has a lot of the things we now value, like the random width red pine floors the brick homes, etc. These are things we might value but out of the gate they were meant to be kind of more of a modest thing you know and Pennsport is kind of a neat neighborhood to live in.
It's very much a community neighborhood you have entities like EOM which is a community center. They do a massive amount of things for kids in different programs such as t-ball soccer. They all run themselves extremely inexpensively so it's not a high cost to participate in any of these things and I think it's more directed towards the community than it is to basically generate money. So I think their funding goes to give back to the community. We have a lot of parks here in Philadelphia and a lot of communities. Really kind of a lot of people in the community seem to get involved with the parks and it's an excellent way to get to know folks. We have a farmer's market.
I mean Pennsport, like a lot of neighborhoods in Philadelphia, we have 44 houses per block, so just walking two blocks you're just going to encounter so many neighbors and it doesn't take long for you to build the relationships. It doesn't take long for you to become part of the community and that's kind of one of the strengths. I feel that you kind of see with Pennsport you know I mean and Pennsport has its share of hot spots. There's a lot of great little gastropubs. My favorites. everyone would have their favorites, I mean we do frank a place called Moonshine quite often. We love a place called the Mifflin Tavern, there's very super nice staff.
You know there's a place that's been here forever, named O’Jung's Tavern. It's under new ownership and the food has been just increasingly getting better and better, and better as far as coffee shops go. I think a lot of people love coffee. The shop is called Grindcore. My favorite coffee shop is a place called Herman's and it's kind of a neat environment there. Herman seemed to get very involved in the community It's kind of a nice feeling when you're there. There's a great place for brunch called The Dutch, very good food.
Now we have our share of parks as I mentioned including Dickinson Square and my wife and I and my daughter were very involved with the park and there's a large community including park cleanups. We've planted 10-year trees in the park over two years. And again the park cleanups you'll just see them extremely well-tended maybe sometimes as much as 30 to 40 people show up. Neighbors will show up and I don't think it's just about getting the park clean as much it's about developing a sense of community. Certainly does get the park clean and certainly great to get trees planted but I think it's about getting out and meeting your neighbors and kind of generating that kind of thing.
Now the other nice thing about Pennsport that you know you're going to find and this is a little bit diminishing as the years are going on but unlike other Philadelphia neighborhoods, you can park your car in Pennsport. You can just pretty much drive into the neighborhood and within five minutes find yourself a space. Now that's been going backward as Pennsport is developing at a fast clip and it's starting to become permit parking and you need a permit to be able to park. What gets difficult about a permit parking is if you have overnight guests I mean to say your family comes and stays with you for a weekend, well they can't get a permit because they don't live here, so it's a little tough for them to park their car and have to move it somehow every two hours but Pennsport you can still find parking you can still find unlimited parking where you don't need to permit you to know I mean Pennsport is going to be one of your more functional Neighborhoods. I mean it's just easy to get in here. You get off of the highway there's an off-ramp. You're immediately in your neighborhood.
As soon as you want to leave Philadelphia, say you travel for work, you're instantly back on the highway. You have stores here. You have your largest grocery stores not too far away. You have target Walmart. Very different grocery stores all right here, and very easy to get to them.
Home Depot and Lowe's are all within a walking distance of Pennsport. As far as the mix of homes and again I'm coming from it from an investment angle as well as a livability angle. So as far as the mix of properties, you're gonna see that Pennsport has massive new construction so that we have these very large very nice homes that are going up at a regular clip. But mostly you're going to see single-family homes. You are going to see a few condominiums, but you're not going to feel that there's a lot of condominiums here. You are going to see a couple of apartment buildings, but you're not going to see any high-rise. I can't think of a high-rise apartment building that would be in Pennsport. You'll see these old schools that have been purchased that have been converted into an apartment building, but you're not going to see any apartment buildings.
You're certainly going to see your share of new construction. You know as far as the original 100 year old homes they're not going to be as large as they would be in some other neighborhoods. Again they were built for a longshoreman back in the 20s including the house that I currently live in now. The house that I'm right now broadcasting from. They're not going to be the largest properties I mean if you go to point breeze you're going to find a home that may be 20 feet maybe 22 feet Fishtown. You're gonna probably typically find these older original 100-year-old homes that are around maybe 18 feet 16 feet. In Pennsport you can go down to maybe 14 feet wide. Often you'll see also 18 foot wide homes but you're not going to generally get a larger home with a larger backyard not typically anyways.
So from an investment perspective, Pennsport's very interesting because it's developing so quickly. It's appreciating so quickly. You know you had at one time you don't see this dynamic anymore because we don't have shells anymore, but what we were seeing is that the worst house on the block, the house that was basically in shell, the condition would be purchased and it would be renovated and it would immediately become the best house on a block improving the values for everyone.
Now Pennsport is more about getting in larger developments, knocking down some of these dilapidated warehouses, and putting in these very large nicer homes. My question is how long can Pennsport sustain itself. You know a hundred-year-old home isn't depreciating, but these homes that were built in the 80s or 90s, the year 2000, 2010, 2020, you can tell how old it is. So these buildings are tending to depreciate. So when you look at a home you can say okay. Well, that home is very much a 2017 home. You can just tell so.
The question is how are these newer homes going to age and are we going to start seeing that they're going to age and will Pennsport in 15 or 17 years start to see a decline that to me would be kind of interesting to see.
So all right well that's my take on Pennsport. Hopefully, you found it helpful. Certainly do have takes on other neighborhoods, so take a look at those and happy investing you.