PHILADELPHIA – From deeds to mortgage documents to other records of property transfers, all property data recorded in the City of Philadelphia for the past 18 years is now available online at phila.gov.
The City’s latest open data set consists of all transactional data for documents recorded in the City of Philadelphia Department of Records from December 6, 1999 through the present. It includes the dates and location of property sales, deeds, mortgages, and sheriff deeds, and includes associated data, such as any realty transfer tax paid.
In all, data from 3.7 million transactions are now readily available, and will be updated regularly. The release comes as the result of a months-long collaboration among the City’s Department of Records, Office of Innovation and Technology, Office of the Chief Administrative Officer, and the Office of Property Assessment.
“Making this readily available online was a Herculean effort by the departments involved, and I applaud their efforts,” said Mayor Kenney. “The release of nearly two decades of property tax in a searchable format will be an important tool for residents seeking to make the most important decision of their lives — the purchase of a property. And it represents another milestone in my Administration’s commitment to the release of open data sets that can improve the lives of all residents.”
The data set, at https://data.phila.gov/visualizations/real-estate-transfers, is exportable into spreadsheet applications, which allows members of the public the unprecedented ability to sort and analyze the data over an extended time frame. Before this release, members of the public could only view data for a single property transaction at a time by obtaining a copy of the record in City Hall Room 154 or the City Archives (548 Spring Garden Street), by subscribing to one or both of the Department of Records’ online subscription based services, or by viewing it on https://atlas.phila.gov.
“The City is pleased to make available 18 years’ worth of detailed property transfer data on a transaction-by-transaction basis, which will permit the public to better understand property transfer trends in Philadelphia,” said James Leonard, Commissioner of the City of Philadelphia Department of Records. “This data release furthers the Kenney Administration’s goal of achieving a more effective and efficient government.”
In addition to deeds, this release provides access to other recorded documents related to properties, by each individual transaction, from December 1999 to the present. For example, this can include documents related to the assignment or satisfaction of mortgages. The release also includes an interactive visualization of the data allows viewers to see how many transfers happen per month, by zip code, and more.
“The release of property records as an Open Data set posed significant challenges, including integrating data from different systems into a single dataset that is easy to understand,” said Christine Derenick-Lopez, Chief Administrative Officer of the City. “I’m proud of my teams at ODDT, OIT and Records for their diligent effort to overcome those hurdles and present one of the most valuable data sets that the City has released to date.”
Even with this release of the overall data, to view the actual image of a property’s deed (or other document showing realty ownership), residents will need to:
- Visit the DOR Property Research Room (City Hall, Room 154) in person to search using a kiosk or have staff in the research room assist you.
- Subscribe to Philadox, a searchable online database of documents filed with DOR. The documents are viewable as lists, tables and scanned images of the actual documents, dating back to 1974.
- Subscribe to the Historical Land and Vital Records site to research deeds as far back as 1683 to 1974.
The US Open Data Census lists deed data as one of the higher value datasets for governments to release publicly. Transfer data is one factor considered by property assessors to help determine the value of specific properties. Residents, realtors, and developers can use it to understand where sales are happening the most in the city.
The City has previously released related land and real-estate datasets, including:
- Property assessments
- Property tax delinquencies
- Vacant property indicators, or by percentage by block
- Property building and zoning permits, Inspections, violations, clean and seals, demolitions