Business Vacancy Rates: Digging Deeper Post-Pandemic
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Exploring Business Vacancy Trends in Philadelphia
The latest quarterly data on business vacancies from Vericast’s Valassis Lists Data is now available on PolicyMap and can allow for deeper local analysis of vacancy trends across cities and neighborhoods in the United States. Data for PolicyMap’s hometown indicates that business vacancy in the City of Philadelphia increased by 3.15% over the last year and is currently 8.01% (Q1 2023), approaching its pandemic high of 8.06% (Q4 2020).
We last wrote about business vacancies in Philadelphia in November of 2021. At that time vacancy rates had returned to pre-pandemic levels, but this new data reveals a significant change in direction as business vacancy in the City climbs back to its pandemic high.
Locating Areas With High Rates of Business Vacancy
Are specific parts of the city driving this increase?
Digging deeper, it’s clear that a number of areas across the city experienced an increase in business vacancies between Q1 of 2022 and Q1 of 2023. The areas in purple on the following map all experienced an increase in business vacancies during this time period. Those shaded the darkest purple, experienced a 6%+ increase.
Of all of the purple areas on the map, two specific areas may disproportionately contribute to the growing vacancy rate. These two areas are both home to a high number of businesses AND have experienced an increase in vacancy of over 100% between Q1 2022 and Q1 2023.
The first area, shown in the following map, is bounded by Arch Street to Chestnut Street and 7th Street to Front Street. It had a vacancy rate of 10.23% (76 vacant businesses) in Q1 2022. By Q1 2023, its vacancy rate had climbed to 24.6% (228 vacant businesses).
The second area, also between Arch Street and Chestnut Street, but from Broad Street to 17th Street had a vacancy rate of 15% (104 vacant businesses) in Q1 2022. By Q1 2023, its vacancy rate had climbed to 18.83% (210 vacant properties).
Recent data on office vacancies in the Philadelphia region similarly indicate an uptick in office vacancies as more workers choose to work from home for most of their work week. Offices are either closing their locations or moving to spaces with significantly smaller square footage. Valassis Lists data goes one step further as it counts all types of businesses, not just office space, and likely reflects the impact on retail stores and restaurants as a result of fewer people working in the City on a regular basis.
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