Invest: Philadelphia 2021

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oundtable:

Developing Philly Real estate investors and developers remain optimistic on Greater Philadelphia. Leaders in the sector spoke with Invest: about the impact from the pandemic on their areas of expertise.

Brent Celek

Owner Brent Celek Real Estate

What was the greatest lesson learned with regard to residential real estate over the past year? You never know what to expect. We thought what was going to happen with the pandemic would hurt was going on. Instead, interest rates went lower and people started refinancing. People are trying to buy. People are trying to get out of the city and move into the suburbs, especially those with kids. It’s tough to be in the city when the reason why you live there is to go to restaurants and all of them are closed. Supply is being hurt by what’s going on with the pandemic. When you think about lumber costs and even getting appliances on time, it’s literally impossible at present. When you have low interest rates and people are trying to buy houses and you find yourself with no supply, it truly becomes a seller’s market. What happens because of all of that in 2021? We’re hoping that what was coming with regard to development is able to continue to work its way through this. We have yet to confirm if we will see the effect until 2022-23. We do believe 2021 will be a good year and that rates will stay low. What areas are up and coming in Philadelphia? Anywhere in the suburbs, such as Media or West Chester. The further you get out of the city, people are looking in areas that have good schools and some open space, they want to have their own home, a bit of grass they can walk on. Generally speaking, all the suburbs are exploding. West Chester is going to blow up. That is definitely a city that is ripe for what’s going on in the pandemic. If they can get some development out there, it’s going to blow up. 70

| Invest: Philadelphia 2021 | REAL ESTATE

Joan Docktor

President Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach Realtors

How has COVID 19 impacted the real estate business in the city? In March, there was a stay at home order and so we went totally virtual and sent everybody home. We have about 700 employees, besides our agents. We gave everybody computers and we didn’t miss a beat. We focused on making sure that our sales associates learned everything they needed to do to be virtual including holding virtual open houses – and we held more of those than any other broker in the marketplace. We did a lot of education to make sure our agents didn’t miss a beat. We found that some people did buy homes sight unseen. It was quite a scary time. We didn’t really know how long it would last but we did everything in our power to keep everyone engaged. At the end of May and the beginning of June, we were able to open up and sales took off. Sales just went through the roof. What does the surge of interest in the suburbs mean for Center City? I think that it’s not like New York at all, where people are flocking to the suburbs and leaving the city. We’ve seen condo sales slow in the city but at the same time, there are high rises going up in the city with $2 million to $4 million condos. There are some young families wanting to get out of the city, looking for more space for kids to run around outside, but you’re still seeing the sale of homes in the city at a steady pace. It’s not like in the suburbs, but things are selling in the city. I think the situation is temporary.