Real Estate 2010: 10 Awesome Neighborhoods To Call Home

If the tanking of the real estate market has taught us anything, it’s that a house isn’t an investment. It’s a home — a place to retreat to at the end of the day, to raise your kids and hang with your friends, to build your life around and become part of a larger community. So, what are the best places to call home around Philly? Here, our guide to some great neighborhoods worth discovering … or rediscovering

The Next Big (City) Thing
Graduate Hospital,

Seventy square blocks of vintage rowhomes within strolling distance of Rittenhouse — without the Square’s tony tone or skyhigh prices.

Schools: Public: South Philly or Audenried for high school. Private: the Philadelphia School for PK-8.

What you get: Passionate community members; welltended window boxes; lowkey BYOBs (Pumpkin, Apamate), bars (Sidecar, Resurrection Ale House) and cafes (Beauty Shop, LaVa); great green spaces (the revitalized Julian Abele park and Schuylkill River Park); easy street parking.

What you don’t: Upscale grocer, retail, and safer streets.

Betcha didn’t know: There’s a naming crisis: Graduate Hospital is now Penn Medicine at Rittenhouse. Up for consideration: “South of South” and “Southwest Center City.” Not popular: “G-Ho.”

Residents you ought to know: Food Network cheftestant Katie Cavuto Boyle, whose Healthy Bites ToGo just opened on Christian Street; the Roots’ Ahmir “?uestlove” Thompson.

The future: More hip redos, and a new South Street Bridge for easier Expressway entrée.

Meet the neighbors: Melanie Cohen, 30, and fiancé Jared Pontz, 29, bought a new townhouse last spring. What sold them was their block’s character, the proximity to Center City, and big homes with smaller price tags. “We’ll be here for a while,” says Cohen.

Wanna buy here? “Rehabs done in the past 10 years are still a great value,” says Elfant Wissahickon’s Chas Hendricksen.

Just sold: A year ago, Hendricksen listed a sparkling redone threefloor brick row with rear deck, bricked back garden and lots of closet space, on little Hicks Street, for $270,000. It sold in days for $295,000.

You might also like: Art Museum expansion areas Fairmount Avenue (around 16th Street) and from there to Brewerytown have similar vibes and price points, and many more condos.