15 Hottest Towns in Philadelphia’s Western Suburbs
Local realtors give us the scoop on where people want to live in our region.
Photo by Steve Legato.
A home in South Ardmore Park. Photo courtesy of Lee Ann Embrey.
“Things are flying off the shelf,” says Nicole Klein of Keller Williams Main Line Realty. “There isn’t a lot of inventory and homes are selling before they hit the market.”
Klein is referring to South Ardmore Park, whose popularity is getting an extra boost from a restaurant renaissance and the thriving small businesses on Rittenhouse Place and Cricket Avenue. In South Ardmore Park, a center-stair Colonial with three to four bedrooms and two full baths lists for about $550,000. “In Lower Merion, there aren’t a lot of options for a house that size in that price range,” Klein says.
In Ardmore Park, the neighborhood surrounded by Wynnewood, Eagle and Haverford roads, properties have a smaller footprint, with three-bedroom homes running $300,000-$500,000. Empty nesters and 20-somethings looking for apartment living are flocking to the new construction around Suburban Square. One Ardmore Place offers 110 luxury units, as well as retail space.
Hot Neighborhoods: South Ardmore Park, Ardmore Park, Suburban Square.
Other Perks: Lower Merion and Haverford school districts, Ardmore Farmers Market.
Bryn Mawr College's beautiful campus is perfect for walking or jogging through. Photo courtesy of Flickr/Montgomery County Planning Commission.
Available homes in affordable Garrett Hill sell “in a matter of days,” says Katie Kincade of the Sivel Group, part of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Fox & Roach, Realtors. “I just sold one in 24 hours.”
The area’s continued popularity is a foregone conclusion, given the access to public transportation and its close proximity to busy neighborhood joints like Garrett Hill Ale House and Flip & Bailey’s pub. There’s also the recently renovated Clem Marcone Park, with its playground, trails and courts. A three-bedroom twin close to Lancaster Avenue was recently listed at $210,000, though prices do go up as you get farther away from Route 30.
Expect larger, more expensive homes in Beaupre. Split-levels with three to four bedrooms sell for $700,000-750,000, and five-bedroom homes with as much as 4,000 square feet start at $1.5 million. “It’s a great mix of new construction and original split levels on larger lots,” Kincade says.
Hot Neighborhoods: Garrett Hill, Beaupre.
Other Perks: Haverford and Radnor school districts, Bryn Mawr Hospital, Bryn Mawr Film Institute, Ludington Library.
Fayette Street in Conshohocken. Photo courtesy of Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board.
For young professionals who work in and around Center City, Conshochoken is a no-brainer. It affords easy access to one of the busiest stretches of I-76, along with rail service for those who could do without the traffic.
Townhomes and condos throughout the borough remain a big draw—especially those around Hector Street. The Grande at Riverview condo complex is particularly popular with millennials, says Kathy Tomson of Your Main Line LifeStyle, a Berkshire Hathaway Fox & Roach division in Devon.
Homes in the area average 1,400-1,500 square feet with three bedrooms and one to 1.5 baths. The typical condo costs $250,000-$350,000, while townhouses average $300,000-$450,000. “Buyers are looking for easy living—a place to lay their head, not have to cut the grass and walkability,” says Tomson, noting that a great bar and restaurant scene doesn’t hurt, either.
Hot Neighborhood: The Grande at Riverview.
Other Perks: Biking and walking trails.
The homes along Devon’s Sugartown and Waterloo roads have always been upscale—and the new Devon Yard—featuring Anthropolgie, Amis Trattoria and Terrain— only adds to their desirability. On the other side of Lancaster Avenue is Shand Tract and its equally picturesque homes. The newly built Berkley Brownstones offer luxury townhouse living. “Rooftop decks, private elevators and a very modern design” are among the features, says Natalie Curry of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach, Realtors. The units have three bedrooms and up to 3,100 square feet of living space.
Overall, prices in Devon range from $350,000 for a three-bedroom condo to estates that sell for several million dollars.
Coming soon: East Conestoga Road’s Brightview Senior Living at Devon, with 171 apartments, a movie theater, a pub, a fitness center, a beauty salon and a barbershop.
Hot Neighborhoods: Shand Tract, Berkley Brownstones, Waterloo and Sugartown roads.
Other Perks: Tredyffrin/Easttown School District, Devon Horse Show.
Victory Brewing Company in Downingtown. Photo by M. Fischetti for Visit Philadelphia.
For families looking for a little more house—and yard—for their money, Downingtown is the best option in Chester County. “The demand is affordable single-family homes,” says Ash Swayne of Swayne Real Estate Group in West Chester.
If you’re willing to start at around $450,000, you can find a 3,000-square-foot home on a half-acre lot with four bedrooms and 2.5 baths. And there’s no shortage of nature, thanks to Downingtown’s proximity to the 1,705-acre Marsh Creek State Park, which offers water sports, hiking and horseback-riding trails.
Toll Brothers’ Chestnut Ridge is an especially popular option right now. “It’s newer construction in the past 10 to 15 years,” says Swayne.
And that means modern conveniences and floor plans. “People like that kind of suburbia—a bigger house, a yard, neighbors, but spread out,” Swayne adds.
Hot Neighborhood: Chestnut Ridge.
Other Perks: Marsh Creek State Park, Victory Brewing Company.
Brick & Brew Havertown is one of the town's most popular restaurants. Photos by Steve Legato.
Great schools, restaurants and family-friendly activities make Chatham Park, Brookline and Paddock Farms the hottest neighborhoods in Havertown. Paddock Farms’ thriving civic association orchestrates festivals, outdoor movies, golf outings, 5Ks and other events. “It’s a very inclusive area with a small-town USA feel,” says the Sivel Group’s Kincade.
In those neighborhoods, three-bedroom, 1.5-bath homes start at $350,000-$400,000. Half a million could get you five bedrooms—“but inventory is limited,” warns Kincade. “That’s how hot the area is.”
Hot Neighborhoods: Chatham Park, Brookline and Paddock Farms.
Other Perks: Haverford Area YMCA.
The Creamery in Kennett Square.
State Street in Kennett Square. Photo courtesy of Historic Kennett Square.
For those who want to call Chester County home but work in Wilmington, Del., or even Maryland, Kennett Square is often the answer. Not far removed from nature, the borough’s bustling downtown offers great walkability, boutiques and critically acclaimed restaurants like Talula’s Table. The renowned Longwood Gardens is also nearby, as are several vineyards. “It’s kind of between Wilmington, Del. and West Chester,” says Swayne. “The downtown now is kind of on the radar.”
Just outside the borough in developments like Willowdale Crossing, large single-family homes start at around $500,000, with more than 3,000 square feet and up to an acre of yard.
Hot Neighborhood: Willowdale Crossing.
Other Perks: Longwood Gardens, Galer Estate Vineyard and Winery.
King of Prussia Town Center. Photo by Eric Prine Photography.
King of Prussia
Town Center’s luxury apartments, condominiums and townhouses make King of Prussia the new queen of the suburbs. The area also offers some of the lowest property taxes in the region. “The tax base is supported by the mall and big companies like Lockheed Martin and GlaxoSmithKline,” says Lee Ann Embrey, a realtor with Coldwell Banker Preferred.
There are many bargains to be had in Valley Forge Homes and other neighborhoods tucked behind the mall and nearby shopping centers. “The median price point is $315,000,” says Tashia Burton, a realtor with Keller Williams. “The homes are a little older, but you can’t beat the convenience of the highways, shopping and entertainment.”
Many of KOP’s new condos are being snapped up by empty nesters drawn to its myriad dining and entertainment options—and there’s talk of a rail line in the next five years.
Hot Neighborhoods: Town Center, Valley Forge Homes.
Other Perks: Valley Forge National Historical Park.
Main Street in Manayunk during the neighborhood's annual arts festival. Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia.
“Manayunk has almost a European flavor to it,” says Matt McGill of McGill Real Estate and Insurance. “It’s kind of built into a cliff, and the views are pretty spectacular.”
Millennials and young professionals continue to gravitate toward the town, which actually has a Philadelphia mailing address. New construction and renos are abundant. “The public transportation to get to Center City is fabulous,” McGill says.
And living in Manayunk is more cost-effective than getting a place in Center City.
Terrace Lofts is popular with young professionals. Elsewhere, you should be able to finds a rehabbed 1,200- 1,500-square-foot home with three bedrooms and 1.5 baths for $300,000-$400,000. As for new construction, “[homeowners are] still getting the tax abatement,” says McGill. “That’s a big driving force behind the single-family new construction,”
Even empty nesters are finding a home in Manayunk. “They’re coming here and buying the townhouses for anywhere between $500,000 and $800,000,” says McGill. “They still get that Main Street flavor, where you can get something to eat, your coffee. It still has that same feeling [as the city].”
Hot Neighborhood: Terrace Lofts.
Other Perks: Wissahickon Creek.
Media is one of the hippest towns in the western suburbs. Photo by Deb Putter Photography.
Thanks to its many festivals and community events—from restaurant week to music festivals to Dining Under the Stars—Media is one of the hippest towns in the area. “There’s such a sense of community,” says Meghan Chorin of the Meghan Chorin Team, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach, who’s lived in the borough for 13 years. “I don’t feel like there’s any other place like it [in Delaware County],”
That community sensibility, paired with the town’s walkability, makes it a haven for Philadelphians looking to settle down in the suburbs, particularly younger families. “They want somewhere with a good school district,” Chorin says, but “they still want to be able to go out to dinner at night, walk around, maybe hit a bar.”
In addition to millennials with families, empty nesters looking to downsize are also flocking to Media. The compact properties mean less up keep. “They want more of a city feel, but they might not want the traffic and the parking issues,” says Chorin.
Virtually everywhere in the borough is popular, especially homes near State Street, but Chorin is also seeing growth on Jefferson Street. “It’s on the opposite side of Baltimore Pike, but they’re really building up the street,” she says. “It’s definitely a growing market.”
Downsizers are still looking for a single-family home, which range from 2,200-2,400 square feet. A three bedroom, 1.5 bathroom home might go for $500,000-$550,000, while larger homes go for closer to $700,000-$800,000.
Twins and row homes—many in the 1,100 and 1,500 square foot range, respectively—are popular with younger families. Most go for $300,000-$325,000, says Chorin, while ones that are a bit bigger or have been recently renovated are priced at $350,000-$400,000.
Hot Neighborhood: Jefferson Street.
Other Perks: Media and Hedgerow theaters.
A home in Newtown Square's Liseter neighborhood. Photo courtesy of Toll Brothers.
This once-sleepy crossroads town has gotten a boost thanks to major new construction. The 218-acre Ellis Preserve continues to expand, offering multi-use space, shops, restaurants and the much-delayed Whole Foods Market, which finally opened this past January. The high-end living options are another draw. Toll Brothers’ Liseter community continues to expand its footprint along Route 252, on land once owned by John du Pont. It offers townhomes, carriage homes and twins, plus small and large single-family houses. “The location is phenomenal; the access is phenomenal,” says Your Main Line LifeStyle’s Tomson, who lives in the development. “You’re five minutes from all the Newtown Square shopping and restaurants, and you’re seven minutes from Wayne and Paoli. We’re tired of taking care of houses, and we don’t want big yards any more,” says Tomson of downsizers like herself. . “There’s quite a bit of dedicated open space and preserved area.”
Liseter’s club-style amenities include a pool, tennis courts and event space. Smaller living options are about 3,000 square feet and start in the mid-$700,000s, while larger floor plans are $1 million and higher.
Elsewhere in Newtown Square, homes in Greene Countrie Village are in high demand. “The houses are maybe 45-50 years old, they’re on one-acre lots, and the topography is beautiful,” Tomson says. Expect 3,000-3,500 square feet for $600,000-$750,000.
Hot Neighborhoods: Ellis Preserve, Liseter, Greene Countrie Village.
Other Perks: Okehocking Preserve, Ridley Creek State Park, Episcopal Academy.
A popular choice for families who want an easy commute to Philadelphia and access to the stellar Lower Merion School District, Penn Wynne offers tree-lined streets, attractive homes and surprisingly affordable prices. A three-bedroom, two-bath home can be had for around $360,000. “And property taxes are reasonable,” says Keller Williams’ Burton.
Close to Penn Wynne Elementary School and Wynnewood Valley Park, the neighborhoods along Harrogate, Henley and Remington roads entice buyers with young families. Penn Wynne has no real town center, but City Line and Lancaster avenues are a quick drive away.
Hot Neighborhoods: Harrogate, Henley and Remington roads.
Other Perks: Penn Wynne Library, Lower Merion School District, Lankenau Medical Center, Friends’ Central School, Perelman Jewish Day School, Kaiserman JCC, St. Marks Armenian Catholic Church.
Downtown Phoenixville. Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia.
Young families and millennials can’t get enough of affordable Phoenixville. Its thriving downtown has undergone a food-and-beverage renaissance in the past few years, with distilleries and breweries popping up all over town.
As a result, there’s really no bad spot in this Chester County borough. Swayne says buyers can’t go wrong “anywhere in that four- or five-block radius along Bridge Street and Main Street.” There, you’ll find a variety of townhomes, apartments and twins.
Phoenixville also hosts many high-profile community events, including Blobfest (1958’s The Blob was filmed there), the Phoenixville Blues Festival and the Firebird Festival.
And while there are still deals to be had in Phoenixville, the popularity surge is nudging prices up. You can snap up a 1,600-square-foot home with three bedrooms and 1.5 baths for about $300,000 … for now.
Hot Neighborhoods: Bridge and Main streets.
Other Perks: Reservoir Park, Colonial Theatre.
A home in Wayne's Glenhardie neighborhood. Photo courtesy of Lee Ann Embrey.
There’s no shortage of desirable neighborhoods in red-hot Wayne. “The town is almost recession proof,” says Coldwell Banker Preferred’s Embrey. “No matter the economy, homes in Wayne are always highly desirable.”
Embrey reports that $800,000-$1 million is the going price for four- to five-bedroom homes with 4,000-5,000 square feet.
Across Route 202 in the planned community of Chesterbrook—the top Philadelphia suburb in Niche’s 2018 survey—two-bedroom condominiums can be found for as low as $230,000. And you still get the Wayne mailing address.
Prices can go much higher for the condominiums in Glenhardie. “The turn-key lifestyle is becoming a big factor,” Embrey says. “In Wayne, the trend is away from fixer-uppers.”
Hot Neighborhoods: North and South Wayne, Chesterbrook, Glenhardie.
Other Perks: Radnor Trail, Radnor Public Library, Radnor and Tredyffrin/Easttown school districts.
“It’s one of the hottest towns around,” says Swayne.
The big reason: walkability. Downtown boutiques, restaurants, performance spaces and community events are steps away for many residents and a just short drive for others. And while West Chester doesn’t have rail service, its proximity to Routes 202 and 30 gives it a decided advantage.
For those who want to be in the thick of it, the new apartments above businesses on Market and Gay streets are popular options. And over on super-cute and cozy Dean Street, families are everywhere. “West Chester’s a very young town,” says Swayne.
Just on the edge of the borough, North Hill gives families easy access to the borough, but with a bit more land. “Homes go immediately over asking [price],” says Swayne of the inventory there. In North Hill, buyers can find a 1,800- 2,800-square-foot home with three to four bedrooms and two baths for about $400,000. Once there, owners tend to hunker down. “[Recently,] it’s been younger families moving in and staying for a long time,” Swayne says.
Hot Neighborhoods: Downtown, Dean Street, North Hill.
Other Perks: Uptown Knauer Performing Arts, Resident Theatre Company.