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Old 07-10-2019, 11:05 AM
 
4 posts, read 3,337 times
Reputation: 10

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Hello! I'm a single guy, mid-50s, in Seattle and looking to relocate. I have been perusing these LV threads and appreciate the wealth of information generously posted here. Thank you all.

I'm single and intend to stay that way.

I'm an urban guy and not into rural living. I appreciate the services and proximity of civilization and I don't like having to commute 20 minutes for a shovel. I don't like villages or really big cities except to visit; small cities are perfect.

Schools aren't an issue as I have no children.

I'd prefer a city lot but also like my privacy. So, a large city lot or a smaller bit of acreage is ideal but I neither want a postage stamp or a ranch. I don't want to spend 20 hours a week pulling weeds and mowing lawns. No thanks!

Price range is up to ~$750K but would prefer lower.

I have not visited the area but like what I see in pictures and what I read in forums and comments. I plan to visit this Autumn.

Tailoring, music, art (viewing and collecting), swimming, skiing, and day trips/overnights to historical sites are hobbies of mine. Thus, I would plan to travel to NYC and Philly more than several times/year, at times once/week. I would prefer to take trips to these cities by bus. How is the bus service in the LV?

Is crime an issue? I don't like crime.

My politics are moderate to somewhat conservative. Will I find fellow travelers or would I be a red dot in a sea of blue?

Weather: I'm OK in the summer as long as there is AC. I went to college in Rochester and hated the winters, found them soul-crushing. Are LV winters bitterly cold/long or are they two months of tolerable cold with milder shoulder months that are drive-able?

Generally, is the Allentown/LV/Bethlehem economy growing, stagnant, declining? Is the population fairly stable? NY is losing population with taxes and COL often cited as primary reasons. Is Pennsylvania suffering from the same? Is this an area that I could possibly invest in (real estate development, for example) in addition to residing? Is there a tech sector?

For those of you who have lived elsewhere, is the LV cost-effective overall? What do you find expensive/inexpensive?

Thank you in advance for any input!
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Old 07-10-2019, 01:32 PM
 
Location: Emmaus, PA
3,502 posts, read 2,399,260 times
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Forgive me but you sound like a person who won't be happy anywhere. You have FAR too many demands.
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Old 07-11-2019, 10:21 AM
 
4,121 posts, read 7,945,303 times
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Moving from Seattle to here? Unreal!! This is an overrated area. Move to Boise
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Old 07-11-2019, 12:11 PM
 
57 posts, read 95,109 times
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The Lehigh Valley has a good bit of what you're looking for but no place will have it all. See responses below...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Murrica View Post
I'm an urban guy and not into rural living. I appreciate the services and proximity of civilization and I don't like having to commute 20 minutes for a shovel. I don't like villages or really big cities except to visit; small cities are perfect.

I'd prefer a city lot but also like my privacy. So, a large city lot or a smaller bit of acreage is ideal but I neither want a postage stamp or a ranch. I don't want to spend 20 hours a week pulling weeds and mowing lawns. No thanks!
West end Allentown and north Bethlehem might be the two best areas that fit those descriptions but very nearby townships could be even better due to the taxes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Murrica View Post
Price range is up to ~$750K but would prefer lower.
That would get you an insanely massive house in this area. Think more like $400k for a mini mansion around here. But keep in mind the higher taxes so size of the house could make a big difference.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Murrica View Post
Tailoring, music, art (viewing and collecting), swimming, skiing, and day trips/overnights to historical sites are hobbies of mine. Thus, I would plan to travel to NYC and Philly more than several times/year, at times once/week. I would prefer to take trips to these cities by bus. How is the bus service in the LV?
Good amount of "okay" skiing is available around here. Good skiing is in Upper NY but you probably already knew that. Not a long drive.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Murrica View Post
Is crime an issue? I don't like crime.
Nobody likes crime, haha. But inner city allentown (lower numbered streets are worse) is somewhat rough, anything west of 17th street is great though. No idea what you consider "low crime" so it's all relative. I don't feel uncomfortable in most areas around here but wouldn't volunteer to walk in the middle of the night in a few areas.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Murrica View Post
My politics are moderate to somewhat conservative. Will I find fellow travelers or would I be a red dot in a sea of blue?
Fiscal conservative here, social moderate. No issues in this area. The city, as most are, is slightly democratic leaning but I don't feel out of place as a quiet conservative.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Murrica View Post
Weather: I'm OK in the summer as long as there is AC. I went to college in Rochester and hated the winters, found them soul-crushing. Are LV winters bitterly cold/long or are they two months of tolerable cold with milder shoulder months that are drive-able?
Probably in the middle of what you're describing. There are some really rough days <10 degrees and the wind can be unbearable at times but only has bad snows of >6" maybe 5-10 days a year. Most of winter is just dealing with 20-30 degree days. Mostly only bad Jan-Mar. Driving is only bad those 5-10 days a year. The closer you get to NYC and Philly, the better the weather gets so driving there is only bad the day of the snow. I'd steer clear of driving on those days unless you like snow.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Murrica View Post
Generally, is the Allentown/LV/Bethlehem economy growing, stagnant, declining? Is the population fairly stable? NY is losing population with taxes and COL often cited as primary reasons. Is Pennsylvania suffering from the same? Is this an area that I could possibly invest in (real estate development, for example) in addition to residing? Is there a tech sector?
LV economy is definitely growing! Tons of new stuff being built compared to the rest of PA (outside of Philly, understandably) and good reinvestment in the area.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Murrica View Post
For those of you who have lived elsewhere, is the LV cost-effective overall? What do you find expensive/inexpensive?
I lived in western PA, Ohio, Virginia, and DC, and have friends in Philly/NYC. LV is extremely cost effective. Only stuff I found expensive is taxes and heating (oil) but that could be very different with a gas heated home.

Let me know if you have any questions, and good luck with your search.
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Old 07-11-2019, 02:25 PM
 
4 posts, read 3,337 times
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This is an excellent, very helpful response. Thank you for all the information, especially re. locations (W. of 17th, West End and North Bethlehem, etc.) and the best wishes. I greatly appreciate it and your responses about the economic opportunities are very encouraging.

In looking at listings on some of the large MLS portals (Zillow, Trulia), I can see that I can find quite a bit in the $300 - $500K range and most just minutes from downtown Allentown. Lots of colonials.

I'm used to high property taxes as well as high sales taxes but no state income tax here in WA. On the plus side, it appears that PA doesn't tax retirement income...? I may have to shuffle my portfolio to take advantage of that if I do decide to move to the LV area.

The biggest advantage is proximity to NYC and Philly.

Thanks again!

Last edited by toobusytoday; 07-16-2019 at 01:07 PM.. Reason: removed spaces for easier reading on mobile devices
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Old 07-12-2019, 06:50 AM
 
57 posts, read 95,109 times
Reputation: 32
This area has a beautiful housing stock. I personally found the West End the nicest place to settle down thanks to the tree-lined streets and sidewalks but there are tons of options and the feel of the area changes every couple blocks.

Let's try to keep politics out of it. People can lean which ever way they prefer to lean. This area is not a political hotbed unlike DC was so I'd prefer to keep it that way.

Last edited by toobusytoday; 07-16-2019 at 01:08 PM.. Reason: removed reference to removed off topic post
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Old 07-12-2019, 08:39 AM
 
Location: Chadds Ford
405 posts, read 189,898 times
Reputation: 416
It sounds like you would be perfect for the Main Line section of Philadelphia's suburbs. It's a well off area with lots going on, and it's not in a downtown area but not sprawling by any stretch. The affluence gives it stability, as it's the most sought after suburbs in the area. Wikipedia - Philadelphia Main Line. Aardmore, in particular, seem like the right speed for you.

The Main Line's train provides very easy access into Philly, and includes a stop at 30th Street Station where you can transfer to NYC (or Boston, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, DC, etc). Amtrak will get you to any of those cities from 30th St Station, or you could take a combination of Septa and NJ Transit for a cheaper yet slower option into NYC. Lehigh Valley is better for driving into NYC, but I prefer taking the train to avoid city traffic, parking, and the exorbitant tolls (there are zero train options in Lehigh Valley).

As far as weather goes, I find Lehigh Valley to usually be about 5 degrees colder than Philadelphia. It doesn't sound like much but you'll be surprised how many storms are 35 degrees and rainy in Philly, while being 30 degrees and snowing in Lehigh Valley. Likewise, the snow melts faster in Philly than it does in Lehigh Valley.

As far as politics go, Pennsylvania is a swing state (a little blue-leaning), and Lehigh Valley and the Philly suburbs are both seen as the most "purple" parts of the state. You won't run into trouble, but people here keep their politics closer to their chest than, say, Seattle.

EDIT: Other Philly suburbs to consider which have charming downtown areas (and relatively clustered houses on its fringes): Doylestown, West Chester, Media, Kennett Square, Phoenixville. Aside from Media (and technically Doylestown), you won't have train access into Philly though. The right play for getting to NYC from these places is driving to Hamilton, NJ and taking a NJ Transit train from there.

Last edited by Patmcpsu; 07-12-2019 at 09:37 AM..
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Old 07-12-2019, 08:45 AM
 
Location: Chadds Ford
405 posts, read 189,898 times
Reputation: 416
Quote:
Originally Posted by John F S View Post
Forgive me but you sound like a person who won't be happy anywhere. You have FAR too many demands.
The only demands I see are a reasonably sized house, low crime, and stuff to do. He's willing to pay a high price, and doesn't care about school quality. What is so unreasonable?
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Old 07-12-2019, 05:06 PM
 
11 posts, read 5,513 times
Reputation: 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Murrica View Post
Will I find fellow travelers or would I be a red dot in a sea of blue?
Love this line!

Thanks for such a well written, thorough post. The responses that followed helped me in my own search. (Well, some of them)
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Old 07-13-2019, 09:36 AM
 
4 posts, read 3,337 times
Reputation: 10
Thank you, all. I appreciate the tips, especially transportation and specifics about locales. I enjoy looking them up and seeing what's on offer. Looking at pictures, Ardmore seems like a lovely place (not much currently available, which may be an indirect positive as residents like it so much they don't want to sell) and I had looked at both Doylestown and Media. I will check into the Main Line more closely, expanding my search from the LV. I will admit that some of my consideration of LV is purely financial and I assume the lower housing costs are parallel to lower other costs as well. In other words, my $ will go further in a smaller town further from the larger, more sought-after centers of industry.



As for weather, as long as it rarely gets below 20F, I'm good. I don't see many solar panels on houses for sale and wonder about energy costs. I'm used to paying quite a bit for nat. gas but not much for electricity. I tend to prefer older homes (1950s and earlier) so energy efficiency is a consideration.



Glad my questions can help others with same/similar questions. This is a very useful forum, thanks to the many great comments and tips from members!
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