We know history is big business in Philadelphia, and numbers have just come out showing just how big – and how much more valuable it makes your home, in a study out of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.
It’s at least $4.6 billion worth: That’s how much Philadelphia County gathered in Federal Historic rehabilitation Tax Credit Projects from 1978 to 2010. It’s about two thirds of the total for the entire state during that period. No other county spends even a quarter of that – or so much as breaks the billion-dollar barrier.
Though no other Pennsylvania county comes even close to what we’re doing here, history is still big business statewide as well. The average economic impact on Pennsylvania from historic districts is $2.9 billion – every single year, the report said.
That includes the $1 billion that 32 million visitors spend here annually, plus expenditures for ongoing operations. It also means 37,000 jobs (including the actor in the tri-cornered hat standing on the sidewalk yelling about the Betsy Ross House) and $90 million in state tax revenue.
Of course, you had some hint of all this, given that half your friends have worked as historical re-enactors in Old City at one point or another.
What you might not have considered is that your property is worth more because of all this. Admittedly, an historic designation is kind of a pain when you want to add a car port. But homes that are in – or even near – an historical district generally sell for more money than homes than are are not, the report said.
Powelton Village, for instance. Home prices in that district jumped 63 percent the year after it received an historic designation in 1985. And every year since then, house values have climbed 3 percent higher than the citywide average increase.
Admittedly, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission has a vested interest in historical preservation – it’s right there in the commission’s name. But their numbers are strong. So pitch in and fix your cobblestone street. It’s making you rich.