Philadelphia County a county in Pennsylvania

Market Overview

Philadelphia County is a county in Pennsylvania. The population of Philadelphia County, according to the 2010 Census, is 1,526,006. The total number of households in the county is 599,736. The average household size for Philadelphia County is 2.21. The total number of renter households in the county is 275,200 which means that 45.9% of households are renter households.

Philadelphia County’s Federally assisted affordable rental housing stock includes properties financed through the following programs:

ProgramPropertiesUnits
Section 8 89 8,911
LIHTC 447 9,653
Section 202 69 4,472
Section 811 25 278
Public Housing 113 15,421
Total 587 21,141
Note: The total does not necessarily equal the sum of each program as some properties may participate in multiple funding programs.

The average number of units per property for affordable rentals in Philadelphia County is 36.00. The largest Federally assisted affordable rental community in the county is University Square Apartments at 442 units and the smallest is 742 West Wellens Avenue at 1 unit(s). 102 apartment properties provide housing for seniors containing 5,991 units. Of the 21,141 units, 29,082 units include some form of rental assistance (like Section 8) to make rent more affordable for very low income families.

Cities with Federally Assisted Projects in Philadelphia County

CityPropertiesUnits
Philadelphia 588 21,165

Federally Assisted Units By Property

Name Total Units
† This Property is Federally Assisted though Unit Counts are not available from HUD.

Rental Assistance for Tenants in Philadelphia County

Rental assistance is a type of housing subsidy that pays for a portion of a renter’s monthly housing costs, including rent and tenant paid utilities. This housing assistance can come in the form of Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers, project-based Section 8 contracts, public housing, USDA Rental Assistance (in Section 515 properties) as well as HUD Section 202 and 811 properties.

In Philadelphia County, there are 261 affordable housing properties providing rental assistance to 29,082 very low income households.

To qualify for most rental assistance programs a renter must earn no more than 50% of the Area Median Income (AMI). In some cases, rental assistance is reserved for renters earning 30% or less of the AMI. In Philadelphia County, to qualify for Section 8 assistance, a renter household containing four persons must earn $40,150 or less. For some targeted rental assistance programs, a renter household of four can’t earn more than $24,300.

It’s important to remember that in many rental assistance programs there are minimum rent regulations requiring assistance recipients to make a minimum payment of between $25 and $50 per month no matter how low their income.

HUD Assistance Income Limits

Persons
1234
$28,150$32,150$36,150$40,150
Persons
1234
$16,900$19,300$21,700$24,300

Income Limits

All affordable housing programs provided by or through the government have maximum income limits to qualify for assistance. These income limits are typically derived from the Area Median Income (AMI), the theoretical family income of the average household in a given geography.

The AMI is updated each year for each geographical area taking into consideration numerous economic indicators. The geographical areas used for establishing the AMI are either Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA’s) or counties.

Philadelphia County is in the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD MSA MSA. The 2016 Area Median Income for a family of four in Philadelphia County is $80,300.

The income limits used for Section 8, public housing, Low Income Housing Tax Credits. the HOME program and other Federal programs all are derived from the HUD defined AMI.

Low Income Housing Tax Credit Income Limits

Persons
1234
$33,780$38,580$43,380$48,180
Persons
1234
$28,150$32,150$36,150$40,150

Fair Market Rents (FMR)

HUD establishes a Fair Market Rent each year for each Metropolitan Statistical Area in the country. This rent standard is used to establish Payment Standards for the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program, maximum rents in HOME financed rental projects and initial rents for Section 8 project based assistance. HUD establishes FMR’s for 530 MSA’s and 2,045 counties nationwide each fiscal year.

The FMR is largely a statistical derivative of the US Census Bureau's American Community Survey (ACS) 5 year estimates for 2 bedroom median rent.

Calculating the maximum allowable rents under various subsidy programs is complex and each program has slightly different rules. In the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher and Project Based Assistance programs, maximum rents a landlord may charge include any tenant paid utility costs.

This utility allowance includes all necessary utilities like water/sewer, trash, heat, electricity or gas. Cable television, telephone, Internet and other non-essential utilities are excluded from this allowance.

In Project Based Section 8 properties, the owner sets the utility allowance after conducting a utility cost analysis. The amount of the allowance is reviewed and approved by HUD. The utility allowance is different for each size dwelling unit.

In the Housing Choice Voucher program, utility allowances are set by the Public Housing Authority (PHA) that administers the program. The PHA sets the allowance based on reasonable utility costs for similar types and sizes of housing units to the unit the voucher holder is renting.

In Section 8 Project Based apartment communities, the maximum rent a tenant may pay is set by the landlord and approved by HUD each year. Initially, the rent charged by the apartment property is limited to the FMR for the area. In some instances, HUD may approve an initial rent of up to 120% of the FMR for the area. Owners may request and HUD may approve annual contract rent increases based on an Annual Adjustment Factor (AAF) determined by local housing and utility costs changes Though contract rents are seldom exactly the same amount as the Fair Market Rent for the area and each Project Based apartment property will have its own contract rent, the FMR can be used as an approximate guide of what maximum contract rents might be.

The amount a Section 8 Project Based tenant will pay is 30% of their adjusted income.

In the Housing Choice Voucher program, the maximum amount the housing authority will pay a landlord is established each year for similar types and sizes of units and is called a Payment Standard. Each housing authority sets its own Payment Standard and usually sets the amount at between 90% and 110% of the Fair Market Rent for the area.

The amount a voucher holder pays for rent, often referred to as a Tenant Contribution, is equal to 30% of their income. If the rental the tenant selects has rent higher than the housing authority Payment Standard, a tenant may pay up to 40% of their income to make up the difference. At least initially, the tenant would not be allowed to pay more than 40% of their income and would have to find a different rental that has a qualifying rent amount.

In Philadelphia County, under the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher program, the might pay a landlord with a two bedroom apartment to rent about $1,211 minus the utility allowance. Likewise, a renter in Philadelphia County with a Section 8 voucher looking to rent a 3 bedroom apartment must find a rental that rents for about $1,515 per month (including the utility allowance). Any amount more than that, the voucher holder could pay the difference as long as they aren’t paying more than 40% of their income. (Note: These rent amounts are approximate since the housing authority’s Payment Standard is likely to be slightly different than HUD’s published FMR. These FMR’s should only be used as a guide. Check with the for their actual HCV Payment Standard.)

2017 Fair Market Rents

Bedrooms
01234
$845 $1,003 $1,211 $1,515 $1,686

Fair Market Rent Percentage Change Since 1988

The affordable housing industry has long used the FMR as barometer for local rents. Though the geographic areas FMR’s are based on are broad and there are often wide variations in neighborhood rents throughout an MSA, in general, the FMR is one of the best quick tools one can use to judge housing costs in a place.

We took a look at historic FMR’s in Philadelphia County and found that they have risen an average of 3.27% year over year. The first year in our sample is 1985 when the two bedroom FMR was $440. That same 2 bedroom apartment rent had increased to $1119 by 2013. In 2001 the two bedroom FMR in Philadelphia County saw it’s largest single year increase going up by 10.03%.

It’s also interesting to look at the FMR compared to the Consumer Price Index’s housing index to understand how Philadelphia County rents have fluctuated in comparison to the rest of the Nation. The consumer price index grew an average of -0.89% year over year. The two bedroom FMR in Philadelphia County has grown faster than the CPI indicating faster than average rent growth in the market.

The largest single year of 2 bedroom FMR growth was in 2001 at 10.03% while the smallest year of growth was 2006 with a 3.06% decrease.

1,526,006

Population

2.21

Average Household Size

629,316

Total Renters

275,200

Renter Households

599,736

Total Households

High Renter
(98th percentile)

Renters or Owners

45.9%

% of Renter Households

$894

Median Rent

$44,747

Median Family Income

52.4%

Renters Overburdened

11.73%

Households in 60-80% AMI Range

21,141

Federally Assisted Units

587

Federally Assisted Projects

447/9,653

Tax Credit Projects/Units

89/8,911

Section 8 Projects/Units

69/4,472

Section 202 Projects/Units

25/278

Section 811 Projects/Units

102/5,991

Senior Projects/Units

29,082

Units with Project Based Rent Subsidy

36

Average Units Per Property

$3,021,537,600/year

Gross Rent Paid By All Renters

47.9%

Renters with No Vehicle

14.1%

Renters Below Poverty Level

27.3%

Renters Who Taxi, Bike, or Walk to Work

32%

Renters Who Use Public Transit to Work

26.9%

Renters With Children

22,022

Vacant Units For Rent

7.4%

Vacancy Rate

12.1%

Units With Utilities Included In Rent

Pennsylvania

State