Point Breeze, Grays Ferry, bubble or not?

11 Replies

In south Philly , we heard a lot of stories for new construction, redevelopment in Point Breeze/Newbold area.

The prices of houses there are already higher than many areas within the city for a while, and I believe some of investors/brokers already expect there are bubbles there, so would like to know what exactly the status for the Point Breeze area? It seems the flips/sales activities are still high, so anyone expert in this areas can comment?

On the other side, Grays ferry seems to be going up, but still not near the Point Breeze yet,so what should we expect for this area?


I'm not sure about a "bubble".

In my opinion Grays Ferry still has a ton of potential. It's like Point Breeze was 10 years ago, but lacks the amount of developable lots. Point Breeze is now pretty solid from Washington to Mifflin. Grays Ferry is really just starting to heat up. its pretty sweet up to Reed / 29.. I do think there are certainly less deals these days in Grays Ferry. 

@Steve Firth

I general agree with you ,Grays Ferry may have good potential, but not so many activities, so not good enough for flip right now.

Point Breeze seems to be still great activities, but you need to buy right and do everything right.

I've been investing in and living in point breeze for the last 4 years.  I don't think point breeze is a bubble.  If you compare comps in PB to the same house 4 blocks over in Grad Hospital you'll see at least a 200k price difference.  Grad hospital is a well developed neighborhood now with little to no open lots or run down houses.  I'd be a little more concerned if houses in point breeze were selling close to graduate hospital prices.  If you're thinking about investing in south philly and can buy right you should check out a little further south in the 19145 zip code or towards the 22nd & 25th streets of south philly.  I also think with the large number of development that will be happening on washington ave over the next few years will only drive the values up for point breeze.

@Jared Bourjolly  

Thanks for your reply. Since you live in point breeze and I would like to ask your opinion of living there. I went there several times for open house and deals. I got feeling that it is mixed neighborhoods which contains new quality construction and old 1920s townhouse,  For life perspective, there are corner coffee shop and convenience shops,other than it is easy access to center city, not sure what is really good about point breeze?

I would say the vibe changes block to block.  I've lived in a 3 different houses in the neighborhood due to me house hacking.  If you get a place on a small side street thats not really developed and theres not much foot/car traffic it may feel a little rougher as compared to if you purchase something on a main street such as 20th or Wharton.  So it really depends on the block.  I have a feeling that in a few years once more people move into the area and point breeze ave builds up that things are really going to take off for the area.  I think in a few years point breeze ave will be like east passyunk with all of the shops and restaurants. 

Agree with Jared above. Grad Hosp. is priced richer than Point Breeze. If you want better margin of safety, probably go down south to 19145 neighborhood. Philly probably will have more population inflow in the long run. Center city lacks open lots so a lot of them will go through re-development. PB is the place to be (if you like South Philly vibe).

I could definitely see concerns from investors in these areas but there is still plenty of opportunities to make money in both neighborhoods. 

Point Breeze has become a very popular location for many investors which has brought a lot of first timers, this has led to many overpriced homes and poor rehabs being done which are sitting and crowding the market. One of my experienced investors just sold his Point Breeze rehab in 30 days in the middle of winter for close to full ask. There is still money to be made there but you have to buy at the right price and make sure to not cheap out on your rehab. Home buyers looking in Point Breeze will be able to look at 10 houses within a 5 block radius, make sure yours stands out. 

As far as Grays Ferry I see a lot of potentials and my deals in this neighborhood have been moving faster than in any other. We are not seeing huge sale prices yet but the neighborhood is showing great percentages and showing investors about a 25% ROI.

@Sam Flannery

That is what I found in point breeze, a lot of rehabbed houses sitting in the market for more than 2 months and sometimes more than half year, cut prices several times,still can not get sale. So in your opinion, main reason is the rehab quality?

For Grays Ferry, like you mentioned the sale price is not even close to point breeze, so what is good strategy in those areas?

@Vincent Chen ,

Yes it is a mic of poor rehabs and overpriced houses, even if the rehab is nice the house will sit if it is overpriced and once a house is on the market for more than a month and has seen some price drops it has become harder to sell. 

In terms of Gray Ferry I can't say an overall strategy because it is still block by block specific. I would look at your percentages more than anything, I wouldn't buy unless you are seeing at least a 20% ROI and a spread (%ofARV) under 73%.

My wife grew up in Grays Ferry and I know the neighborhood well since we have owned properties there. 

If you drive around Grays Ferry now you’re going to see quite a bit of rehabs / guts and some new construction which to me as a novice is a great sign. Although there might not be as much empty lots as Point Breeze still a lot of rehabs / guys on existing houses.  New construction has sold for recently $325-$375k. Yes currently it’s block to block but I can see without a doubt Grays Ferry is the next Point Breeze in the next 3-5 years. 

The house I completely gutted is on a small street. Recently a married grad student couple purchased a house on the block for $225k and there are a couple of rehab houses on the market for $250k on the street. These are 14x45. 

My opinion and it could be biased is Grays Ferry is a better location than Point Breeze. Easy to get downtown, to the University etc. You also have a grocery store the Fresh Grocer that’s closer than Point Breeze. 

I work at the University of PA as well. The University has a mortgage house program for employees in designated areas. 19146 is a University area BUT it doesn’t include East of 34th st. It includes what is called the Forgotten Bottom across from Pennovation which the University is calling Grays Ferry. My wife and the old timers laugh because the Forgotten Bottom is considered Grays Ferry. I’ve heard talks the University is wanting to buy the property across from the Fresh Grocer and if that happens different story. The University started this program around 25 years ago and it helped to transform University City.