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Super Bowl 52 special: An insider’s guide to Philadelphia

Parsing the Eagles’ hometown

Sean Pavone/

To mark Sunday’s big game, Curbed Boston decided to ask Curbed Philly to provide some insights into the Eagles’ home market. Consider it a friendly, non-competitive (okay, maybe a little) peek behind enemy lines.

Boston tends to get a lot of credit for its history, but Philly is considered the true birthplace of the U.S., where both the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were signed.

And, while the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection has had its ups and downs over its long history, in recent years it’s experienced slow but steady population growth and a healthy housing market.

Still, unlike its neighbors to the north, New York and Boston, or D.C. to the south, Philly remains an affordable major U.S. city. Its median home price is $185,000.

A sampling of homes for sale in Philly’s hottest neighborhood

With more than 60 neighborhoods, it’s hard to pinpoint the hottest neighborhood in Philly.

There’s Fishtown in Northeast Philly, which has seen tremendous growth and skyrocketing prices in recent years, and then there’s Germantown, which is more up and coming and was recently crowned the Curbed Cup neighborhood of the year.

But the real building boom is happening throughout Center City, where there are dozens of major residential projects in the pipeline scattered across enclaves such as Rittenhouse Square, Society Hill, and Washington Square West.

Below are just two examples of what buyers might find in Center City right now:

↑ In Rittenhouse Square, one of the city’s priciest neighborhoods, $2,350,000 buys this recently restored carriage house that’s now a four-bedroom, four-bath condo.

↑ This Colonial-style home in Washington Square West, on the opposite side of Broad Street, is also up for grabs, asking $850,000 for its four bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms.

Surprising things about Philly that every Philadelphian knows

  • William Penn (or “Billy Penn”) is the founder of Philadelphia. That’s why he has a statue on top of City Hall (it’s often mistaken for Ben Franklin.).
  • Unlike most major U.S. cities, Philly stands out because it’s a majority-homeowners city with a 52.4 percent home ownership rate.
  • We have thousands upon thousands of murals all over our buildings—the Mural Arts program is the largest city mural program in the country.
  • It’s not a sandwich. It’s not a sub. It’s a hoagie. (And while on the subject of food, there are a lot of tasty things to eat here besides a cheesesteak. Eater Philly has the lowdown.)

These stereotypes are true

  • Yes, our sports fans—football, hockey, baseball, basketball—are, uh, to put it delicately, passionate. Even slathering poles with Crisco won’t stop us from climbing them after a win.
  • Though not as familiar as a Bostonian one, Philadelphians do have a specific accent that has been studied for decades and is very hard to mimic or decipher. Water is pronounced “wooder” and “jawn” is a catch-all term for anything and everything.
  • We are a superstitious bunch. Remember Billy Penn? As the story goes, there used to be this so-called gentleman’s agreement that no building should ever pass the height of the statue atop City Hall. When that happened in 1987 with the construction of One Liberty Place, the “Curse of Billy Penn” was born, with no major sports teams winning a championship after that. The curse was apparently lifted when the Phillies won the World Series in 2008.

Editor’s pick: A quintessential Philly home

Home: A Trinity rowhome

Price: $390,000

Size: 2 bedrooms, 1 bath

Square footage: 1,190

Philly is a rowhome city, and Trinities are its bread and better.

These rowhomes are modest, three-story houses that date back to the 18th century, when the city’s population was booming and Philly was in need of more housing for its working class.

The resulting Trinities run on the smaller side and traditionally feature one room per floor, each accessed via a spiral wooden staircase. This is a delightful example of a Trinity that’s for sale in the Queen Village neighborhood that dates back to 1769. It’s historically certified, too.