Butkovitz: Philadelphia is an Affordable Alternative to NYC

Audit Date: October 30, 2009
Controller: Alan Butkovitz

Executive Summary

For Immediate Release:
Oct. 30, 2009

Contact: Harvey Rice

Butkovitz: Philadelphia is an Affordable Alternative to NYC
Philadelphia is second to none compared to the Big Apple



PHILADELPHIA – As the Phillies and Yankees fight to be number one on the diamond, City Controller Alan Butkovitz today released a report showcasing Philadelphia as second to none for affordability and the next best home for New Yorkers.

At a press conference today, Butkovitz released the report entitled, “New Yorkers Phinding Philadelphia as Affordable Alternative” which focused on recent migration trends of New Yorkers leaving the Big Apple and moving to Philadelphia. Since 2002, Philadelphia has seen a net gain of more than 1,000 New Yorkers every year through 2006. Between 2002 and 2003, almost 2,000 New Yorkers migrated to Philadelphia.

“While not an avalanche of people, there is a trend that shows there is an opportunity for us in Philadelphia to exploit,” said Butkovitz. “Many of those leaving New York City are professionals looking to build careers in Philadelphia and we should take full advantage of it.

“Forty percent of those who departed New York City had at least a bachelors degree, one-fifth had masters degrees or higher.”

The report’s analysis found that one of the biggest advantages to moving to Philadelphia is the cost.

“It’s big-city living without big-city costs,” said Butkovitz. “Not only are we second to none when it comes to a comparison with New York City, Philadelphia beats the Big Apple hands down when it comes to cost of living.”

A cost of living analysis comparing the two cities shows that, New York City is more expensive than Philadelphia. The average home price in New York City (Manhattan) is $1,320,000 compared to only $472,396 in Philadelphia. Comparable apartments rent for $1,330 in Philadelphia compared to $3,500 in Manhattan.

“Including the cost for utility bills, a young professional renting in New York would be paying $2,300 more a month – not including food costs,” said Butkovitz.

Other comparisons favoring Philadelphia as an affordable alternative include:

Philadelphia New York
Sales Tax 8% 8.875%
Parking Rates $100-$400 $1,140
Dinner and Movie for Two $86 108
Dentist Visit $87 $121
Washer/Dryer Repair $58 $79
Parks/Recreation 9,200 acres 843 acres
(Fairmount Park) (Central Park)

“Philadelphia is well positioned to attract New Yorkers who are looking for all the amenities of an urban environment, but who are also looking for an alternative to the high cost of living in New York City,” said Butkovitz.

Butkovitz recommends the City of Philadelphia should construct a comprehensive marketing plan that includes multiple components and stresses the affordability, accessibility, and amenities that Philadelphia offers in comparison to New York City. In addition, commuter train discounts, tax incentives, grants, and other incentives should be used to attract specific target markets, including the film industry.

“While our report concludes that New York City is fertile ground for Philadelphia to attract new residents, we must develop a comprehensive plan to attract new Philadelphians and aggressively implement that plan and market our city.”

“This report should act as a guide to build upon our existing assets – and attract new residents from our urban neighbor to the north – and move our City forward.”