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Old 08-23-2009, 01:37 PM
 
581 posts, read 1,230,130 times
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My husband I are both young-ish university professors working in or just about in downtown Phila. We've been renting for two years (and have been commuting 30-40 minutes depending on traffic). We no longer wish to deal with the traffic and commute times and want to be closer to both work and the city amenities. Based on our budget, I think Northern Liberties, Pennsport, or Graduate Hospital will afford us the type of house that we want (3 bed, 2 bath with garage and small patio for our dog). I've read conflicting information on each of these neighborhoods and am looking for some advice. What are the major benefits/drawbacks to these areas? Would one area be a better investment? It looks like NoLibs is rapidly growing, but it is a little more removed from the rest of Center City, then say Graduate Hospital. Any advice about these areas would be greatly appreciated.

Last edited by templeu; 08-23-2009 at 01:42 PM.. Reason: spelling error
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Old 08-23-2009, 10:21 PM
 
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I feel like Northern Liberties has already grown out, don't know what type of return you would get on an investment there. In graduate hospital they seem to be building new houses on every empty lot around, I am always wary when houses go up so quick. Pennsport is probably the most established neighborhood on your list, but I don't know how many places have garages.

They're all nice neighborhoods. I guess it depends on whether you prefer to be closer to the Italian Market/Washington Ave./Passyunk or 2nd St./Old City/Girard.
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Old 08-24-2009, 05:53 AM
 
Location: Sanford, FL
596 posts, read 1,537,138 times
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I agree on Northern Liberties, and it's something of a magnet for neighboring rougher communities in terms of "Let's go steal ____". Graduate Hospital is similar. Pennsport is probably your best option, a more established area with far less undesirable areas nearby. Its proximity to Queen Village and Society Hill make it a nice area in terms of walkability and nearby restaurants.
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Old 08-24-2009, 02:14 PM
 
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Thanks! There are some new developments that have gone up on Ellsworth that have a garage, and planned developments near 2nd and Federal that have a garage and small patio. That area does offer great access to Queen Village...where we originally started our search but soon grew disappointed at what we could afford. I'm actually really surprised to hear your thoughts about Northern Liberties. I grew up in the Delco area, moved away for 10 years and just came back...and since I've returned all I've heard is how "No Libs" is the new up and coming area and great place to buy. I driven around there quite a bit and it seems there is still a bunch of construction underway. Now, some of the construction doesn't appeal to me, a little too modern and I'd worry the design will become outdated pretty quickly... I really love the traditional look of the old brick houses in QV, Society Hill, and Rittenhouse. Those will never go out of style! I'm going to look more into the South East section of S. Phila. That may be a really great fit for us. Any streets/sections to avoid in that area?
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Old 08-24-2009, 04:00 PM
 
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not sure if these are the proper boundaries of pennsport but washington to snyder east of Moyamensing is all pretty decent. 5th st. has some shady stuff going on around dickinson square park and south, but i think most people would probably tell you to stay east of 4th st. anyway.
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Old 08-24-2009, 04:08 PM
 
Location: Philly
9,970 posts, read 14,291,834 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eggtimer View Post
I feel like Northern Liberties has already grown out, don't know what type of return you would get on an investment there. In graduate hospital they seem to be building new houses on every empty lot around, I am always wary when houses go up so quick. Pennsport is probably the most established neighborhood on your list, but I don't know how many places have garages.

They're all nice neighborhoods. I guess it depends on whether you prefer to be closer to the Italian Market/Washington Ave./Passyunk or 2nd St./Old City/Girard.
I don't think the pstoer wants to flip houses, those days are over. NL is a stable area where you likely won't love the money you've put in, which is all you can ask for. that said, assuming the OP is a temple prof, I'd suggest also considering Francisville. there are a few properties up there that meet your needs (though I think they are ovepriced right now but there are rentals too). it's walking distance to cc and temple. also, there's a new development (google hankin francisville) that may also fit your needs. that said, all the neighborhoods are decent that you mentioned and it depends on which you like better
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Old 08-24-2009, 04:58 PM
 
581 posts, read 1,230,130 times
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We are definitely not looking to flip anything! We live in a very old house in Chestnut Hill right now...and while beautiful it needs a lot of work. We've realized with our work schedules, we just don't have the time or really want to spend our free time working on a house. We're looking for a turn-key type of situation. If it helps, our budget is probably upwards to $575,000K. I think we could probably buy into QV or other neighborhoods, but it seems we could get more house with a garage for the same $$ in some of the other aforementioned neighborhoods.

pman, you hit the nail on the head. We just don't want to buy into a neighborhood and then lose money because of instability in the area. Because we aren't professional "flippers", we're looking at this purchase as a place to live and enjoy a city lifestyle, not as a place to grow our bank account. That said, we certainly don't want to be upside down in our mortgage in 3+ years.
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Old 08-26-2009, 09:56 AM
 
Location: Sanford, FL
596 posts, read 1,537,138 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by templeu View Post
Thanks! There are some new developments that have gone up on Ellsworth that have a garage, and planned developments near 2nd and Federal that have a garage and small patio. That area does offer great access to Queen Village...where we originally started our search but soon grew disappointed at what we could afford. I'm actually really surprised to hear your thoughts about Northern Liberties. I grew up in the Delco area, moved away for 10 years and just came back...and since I've returned all I've heard is how "No Libs" is the new up and coming area and great place to buy. I driven around there quite a bit and it seems there is still a bunch of construction underway. Now, some of the construction doesn't appeal to me, a little too modern and I'd worry the design will become outdated pretty quickly... I really love the traditional look of the old brick houses in QV, Society Hill, and Rittenhouse. Those will never go out of style! I'm going to look more into the South East section of S. Phila. That may be a really great fit for us. Any streets/sections to avoid in that area?
Northern Liberties has been "up and coming" for over 10 years now. As you point out, much of it is new construction or renovated to look modern, similar to 90's modern which in most instances is looking dated now. You'll do well to check out the Pennsport area. As with many developing areas there aren't any general rules as to what area is best. It's often block by block, or best case a few square blocks. The best advice I can offer is to stay as far to the north closest to Queen Village that you can afford.
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Old 09-23-2010, 03:18 PM
 
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Interesting thread for me, in that I too have been looking in all three of these locations for more than a year now. I rented in NL for four years so know that area very well. Here's my take on the neighborhoods for what it's worth:

NL
PROS: Hottest area in the city right now; great eateries/bars/nightlife; close to CC proper (esp. Old City)
CONS: Quickly getting over-devloped; zero street parking; overpriced (even in this housing market); Sugar House casino impact yet to be determined; E. of 2nd St. has noise and traffic issues from 95; very close to the ultra-bad sections of N. Philly so crime (sometimes violent) is somewhat more frequent than in comparable urban areas. It's also worth noting that this bad section extends for hundreds of blocks. Unlike the hood in QV/Pennsport which is contained and easily avoidable, N. Philly goes on forever.
SUMMARY: I personally wouldn't buy in NL at this time

Grad Hospital
PROS: Great location; almost all the homes are privately owned, so the rehab has been fast, furious and cohesive (aka, no blocks of city-owned PHA slums that will never be developed); out of the three locations considered, this has the highest rate of young white collar influx
CONS: Zero parking (except where you really don't want to park); expensive homes (overpriced IMO); surrounded by slums on all sides expect to the North (CC-proper); b/c of influence of surrounding poverty, crime is not uncommon (usually nusiance crimes though); iffy future for Southern sections of Grad Hosp.
Summary: Possible buy, but only for the right house, preferably North of Christian St.

Pennsport
PROS: Very stable neighborhood; affordable housing (for 425 - 450 you can get a new construction with garage, roofdeck, 2500sq. ft. and tax abatement); convenient location (near highways, CC-proper, QV, Bella Vista, Italian Market); parking is decent if you have friends over or have two cars; good housing stock (usually well taken care of for life of home, unlike Grad. hos. and NL); safe parks/greenspaces nearby
CONS: Not as white collar as you to are probably used to; not much room for change (neighorhood has been, and will remain, almost exclusively residential with a smattering of restaurants/lowkey pubs); still Foxwoods Casino potential which would be a real issue for that area
SUMMARY: My top reco as long as you're in the northeastern section (North of Wharton and East of 4th). However, in your pricerange, it will be easy to over-buy. Don't drop 500G in Pennsport b/c, regardless of the real estate market, you'll be hardpressed to ever break even on that home.

Disclaimer: Just my opinions. Good luck and keep us posted on your search
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