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Old 06-20-2008, 08:54 AM
 
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Hi everyone. My wife and I are planning a move from MA to PA in September or October of this year. We're looking to get closer to family, and to (hopefully) escape the high house prices of the Boston area. All the while, first kid on the way early next year. This whole move is dependent on my getting a new job down in PA first. I'd like to plan it so that I live near enough to my job that a commute is not a hassle. But in order to search for a job, I'd have to know the area I'd be living. Kind of a headache of a loop.

My question is that I'm not certain which areas would fit our budget for home buying, and which to avoid that would fit. I'm comfortable in the 100k to 125k range, and I realize that'd probably put me condo range at best. It's very much a starter home while we establish roots in PA. Could anyone recommend a few areas that might fit our budget? I figured something near enough to Philly to expand job options might be best, but I have no idea if that conflicts with our budget.

Thanks so much for your help.
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Old 06-20-2008, 09:46 AM
 
Location: Boston Metrowest (via the Philly area)
6,196 posts, read 9,235,259 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vinelander View Post

My question is that I'm not certain which areas would fit our budget for home buying, and which to avoid that would fit. I'm comfortable in the 100k to 125k range, and I realize that'd probably put me condo range at best. It's very much a starter home while we establish roots in PA. Could anyone recommend a few areas that might fit our budget? I figured something near enough to Philly to expand job options might be best, but I have no idea if that conflicts with our budget.

Thanks so much for your help.
Hello there. Sounds like an exciting time for you!

Unfortunately, while the Philly area's housing costs are not as high as Boston's, they're not exactly dirt cheap, either. The 100K to 125K range will get you a half-decent property in places like Pottstown (Montgomery County), Norristown (Montgomery County) or Phoenixville (Chester County). These are your best bet closer to the Philly, as they are more working-class communities with notably cheaper housing than other more affluent communities. As a rule of thumb, generally the farther west you go from the city, the cheaper the real estate. That said, there are place in Berks County in and around Reading where you can get more bang for your buck. Hope that gives you somewhat of an idea.

You also might want to post this in the Philly forum to get some more responses.

Good luck!
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Old 06-20-2008, 10:01 AM
 
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Out of curiosity, how much does a jump from $125k to $150k change the results? Or does that just put us on a better street in the same areas, as example?
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Old 06-20-2008, 10:34 AM
 
Location: Boston Metrowest (via the Philly area)
6,196 posts, read 9,235,259 times
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Originally Posted by Vinelander View Post
Out of curiosity, how much does a jump from $125k to $150k change the results? Or does that just put us on a better street in the same areas, as example?
That may give you a little more leeway, but nothing drastic -- still puts you in the same areas mentioned. In order to get a house in what are considered "more desirable" areas, the minimum is 200K. However, I wouldn't get too discouraged. We are clearly in a buyer's market right now, so my perception may be a little off if there are some homes that have come down a lot in price.
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Old 06-20-2008, 10:42 AM
 
Location: Montco PA
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Honestly, don't take this the wrong way, but just because you are moving away from Boston does not mean that you are going to get a decent house for that price range.

You might want to plug in some communities around Philadelphia just to see what you might get. Try: Conshohocken, Norristown, Bridgeport for starters. How close do you want to be to the city? Have you thought about living in the city? Where is your family? North of the city, west, south? Let us know some more info and we can probably hone in on areas for you to check.
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Old 06-20-2008, 10:50 AM
 
Location: Center City Philadelphia
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That type of affordability is possible in the Harrisburg suburbs, which has a good job market and is only an hour and a half from Philadelphia. You're not going to get something brand spanking new though.
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Old 06-20-2008, 11:12 AM
 
3 posts, read 6,081 times
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Originally Posted by BPP1999 View Post
Honestly, don't take this the wrong way, but just because you are moving away from Boston does not mean that you are going to get a decent house for that price range.

You might want to plug in some communities around Philadelphia just to see what you might get. Try: Conshohocken, Norristown, Bridgeport for starters. How close do you want to be to the city? Have you thought about living in the city? Where is your family? North of the city, west, south? Let us know some more info and we can probably hone in on areas for you to check.
Thanks for the response. We're under no illusions about what our price range will get us. The word "decent" is a tricky one. We're pretty certain an actual house is out of the question, so were figuring on a condo of some sort. Family is South Jersey. Basically, we just want it to be possible as a day trip, so figuring 2-3 hour drive as opposed to the 6-7 it is currently. As for living in the city, we're pretty opposed to it, since we've pretty much lived in the city for the last 10 years. Change of scenery/pace is much wanted.

Again, maybe we can't get something we want in the given price range, so I was mostly curious about the feasibility, and the areas I should begin searching for work. Thank you everyone thats responded, it has been fantastic information.
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Old 06-20-2008, 11:43 AM
 
189 posts, read 671,278 times
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Depending on what you do for a living, I would suggest that you move into central Pennsylvania. Not the same excitement as Philly, but you can get a nice house for $125,000 in Bellefonte and work in State College, 15 minutes away. I believe in State College you could even get a nice townhouse for that price. State College is home to Penn State, which offers a lot of jobs, yet it has other major employers as well, such as Accuweather. I am aware that you might think State College is too small or too far out, but it does offer many things to do as well as a lot of small towns that border it. The State College area offers great schools, low crime, and affordable housing. Many recreational oppurtunities are nearby and there is an overall great quality of life.

Last edited by Lion11; 06-20-2008 at 11:51 AM..
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Old 06-20-2008, 11:53 AM
 
Location: Montco PA
2,161 posts, read 4,736,701 times
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There are parts of Delaware County that might meet that price range (try Lansdowne, Essington, Ridley Park). The good thing is that Delaware County is close to South Jersey.

Have you looked into South Jersey? You could probably find something in that range in a place like Pennsauken.
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Old 06-20-2008, 01:31 PM
 
Location: Philaburbia
39,266 posts, read 69,753,645 times
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You can buy a brick twin -- 3 bedrooms, 1 bath (more if you're lucky) on about a tenth of an acre -- in a reasonably safe neighborhood in Norristown, 20 miles NW of Philadelphia, for around $150,000. Contrary to popular opinion, the entire town isn't a disaster area, although the more I get to know members of the city council the less enthusiastic I am about living here ... but that's fodder for another thread!

Or you can move to another part of the state where housing prices aren't as ridiculous. What do you do for a living?
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