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New Jersey Suburbs of Philadelphia Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County, Salem County in South Jersey
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Old 05-03-2021, 01:58 PM
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I've recently entered the market as a first-time homebuyer and am curious about people's perspectives on what SJ towns may be the best equipped to "pop" over the next 10-15 years similar to the evolution Collingswood/Haddon Ave corridor have experienced over the past 10-15 years. For context, I grew up in the Collingswood/Haddon Township/Haddon Heights area but unfortunately houses in these towns are selling for wild prices right now. Still want to stay relatively close to the same area with close access to PATCO/Philly, so places like Pitman may be a bit too far for me. Curious what people think of towns like Runnemede, Bellmawr, Somerdale, Blackwood, Glendora, Maple Shade, etc that seem to bit a bit more affordable.
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Old 05-04-2021, 11:13 AM
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Don’t expect any of those towns to “pop.”

The Haddon Avenue corridor “popped” because they offered walkable downtowns and PATCO access. And even then, saying they popped is a bit of a stretch. Significant population growth did not come. In fact, based on Census estimates both Haddon Township and Collingswood had slight population declines from 2010 to 2020. Haddon Heights estimated to grow less than 1% in population. It’s just that the downtown businesses revitalized.

Runnemede, Bellmawr, Somerdale, Blackwood, Glendora, and Maple Shade offer nothing that would make them pop, except for the housing being cheap. Maple Shade kind of has a downtown, but it’s not vibrant in the way the Haddon Avenue corridor is. Somerdale is a short drive from Ashland PATCO but does not have a stop of its own. Also a small section of town is directly across the street and easily walkable to the Lindenwold station.

You can move there, but if you are expecting the towns to significantly change or improve, I think you will be disappointed. They are blue collar working class and will remain that way. Somerdale and Maple Shade are likely the best of that group. Glendora and Blackwood are parts of Gloucester Township, and within that town, there are better sections that might actually be better than Somerdale and Maple Shade if you look at income and schools, but Blackwood and Glendora are not those sections.

The whole exodus from the city and move to the suburbs is something that is having a moment right now but will not last once the pandemic subsides. It’s a bad time to buy a house right now. Wait a little longer, and the market will cool. These towns you are considering are also likely having a temporary spike in housing prices, but you stand to lose much more on them when the bubble bursts than you would in Haddon Township or Collingswood because at least those two towns have long-term sustained desirable offerings (PATCO, downtowns, and in Haddon Township’s case, quality schools) that will appeal to millennials starting families, whereas demand for Bellmawr, Runnemede, etc. is just panic buying at the moment.

It should go without saying, but more affordable housing stock goes hand on hand with lower income, which means worse schools, less money to spend in a local economy and therefore less vibrant business offerings, and unfortunately, often more crime. These towns are cheaper for a reason, and it is a vicious cycle. It’s hard to get so many wealthier brave souls to try to pioneer a town that currently holds no appeal to them. People moving from Philly tend to have a hierarchy on where they search.

First, the Main Line PA suburbs for the wealthiest. Then other burbs not part of the Main Line like West Chester, Ambler, Jenkintown, Media, Chadds Ford, etc

Then elite SJ towns like Haddonfield and Moorestown. Then after that your likes of Voorhees, Cherry Hill, Marlton, Mt Laurel, Haddon Heights, and Medford. Haddon Township may be a new entry into this range as well as some towns in Gloucester County like Mullica Hill, Pitman, and Swedesboro/Woolwich.

Then you have Collingswood, Merchantville, and maybe Mount Holly, Woodbury, and Glassboro for some hipster types or the gay community (in Collingswood anyway) willing to take a chance based on potential and the aesthetics even though the schools aren’t so great (which may not be relevant to them).

Bellmawr, Runnemede, Somerdale, Maple Shade, etc. (or Bensalem and Upper Darby in PA) are the last places you look before you starting into areas that have some serious problems like Lindenwold, Gloucester City, Paulsboro, etc. and straight up failures like Camden and Burlington City, Chester, PA, and Wilmington, DE.

Last edited by Leps12; 05-04-2021 at 11:42 AM..
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Old Today, 06:12 AM
588 posts, read 1,244,694 times
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Originally Posted by Leps12 View Post
Don’t expect any of those towns to “pop.”
First just wanted to say to Leps12... this is an excellent and accurate response. And I am a guy who lived in Bellmawr for 45 years, and I still agree with the commentary. ha
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Old Today, 06:18 AM
588 posts, read 1,244,694 times
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There is momentum to put a rail line in Gloucester county to the Camden Transportation station where Patco is. I think at Camden people would get off the Gloucester County line and walk the platform to Patco

If that happens, it could be argued that the towns along the Gloucester County line could become even more favorable over time. The Philly transplant who wants suburb life now but still feel connected... which is driving price growth in Collingswood, Haddons etc

Although Collingswood and the Haddons also have really nice classic Americana downtown commercial districts, which added with Patco is a double win.

In the proposed Gloucester county line, Pitman, Glassboro and others do have nice dowtowns.. could fuel growth

But this line is not approved nor funded. there has been alot of talk about it lately, pro and con. most of the people living in the area are fighting against it, it seems... the Patco seems more sheltered and elevated from the communities. The Gloucester county line will have fast trains at the road level and that seems to be the concern

Glassboro-Camden Line | A vital transportation link in South Jersey.
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Old Today, 09:27 AM
Location: Center City Philadelphia
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If the rail line goes in, absolutely expect the Woodbury-Wenonah (tho taxes here are insane)-Pitman corridor to really pop. Otherwise, I think it's tough for many of the NJ towns. The outer PATCO stations (Lindenwold is the perfect example) should definitely go for the new urbanist town center sort of thing but for some reason, they prefer the giant sea of parking so I wouldn't expect those towns to change much, unfortunately.

Personally, I've always been fond of the Medford Lakes area. But I don't expect a "pop" in growth, per se, as its pretty exurban and far from job centers. But it would be nice to see more of a town center development in that area.
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