A look at the Philadelphia region’s boom-to-bust market
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The Inquirer's special report on home sales is based on the analysis of 376,257 transactions from April 1, 2005, through June 30, 2011, in the eight-county Philadelphia region, as well as Shore towns in Atlantic and Cape May Counties.
The analysis was performed by Kevin C. Gillen, vice president of Econsult Corp. in Philadelphia. Additional analysis was done by The Inquirer staff. The project was reported by Alan J. Heavens, Inquirer real estate writer.
Philadelphia data were obtained from the city and include all valid sales. Trend Multiple Listing Service data, as reported by real estate agents or brokers for the suburbs and the Shore, were provided by Prudential Fox & Roach's HomExpert Market Report to Econsult Corp.
In all areas, the analysis focused on arms-length sales. Excluded are: blanket sales; nominal sales; sheriff sales; bank sales; inter-family transfers; any sales involving a government agency (FHA, HUD, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, etc.); sales under $10,000, and any considered outliers — too high or too low to accurately reflect sales in the area. In Philadelphia, about 20 percent of the sales were deemed invalid and excluded; in the suburbs, 5 percent were excluded.
Included in the analysis are single-family homes, condominiums, townhouses and twins, or duplexes.
Median price represents the amount at which one-half the sale prices were lower and half were higher.
Heavens has covered real estate for The Inquirer since 1989 and writes for the newspaper's Business, Homes, and Home & Design sections. He has a master's degree in history from the University of Connecticut and a bachelor's degree in history from Hobart College, and is the author of two books on home renovation.
Gillen, an expert in real estate markets and finance and urban economics, produces Econsult's quarterly home-price indexes for Philadelphia, the region, and the Jersey Shore. He has a Ph.D in applied economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and is a research fellow at the university's Institute for Urban Research.