In the past four years, pretty Fairmount has enjoyed more buyers, more housing options, more restaurants … and it shows no signs of slowing.
Median home price: $309,950
Increase in number of properties sold (2011 to 2012): 24.1 percent
Increase in residents aged 20 to 54 (2000 to 2010): 15.9 percent
The first thing you notice about Fairmount is the trees—they’re everywhere. So it’s no surprise that the 25,000 people who call it home are city dwellers with a hankering (if only a small one) for the greenery of suburbia. “It’s the best of both worlds,” says realtor Elizabeth Clark. “You get a little more space, a few more trees and the cohesive feel of a neighborhood, while still having access to city life.”
Fairmount’s steady rise over the past decade has been more artful than dramatic, though home prices have risen significantly in the past 10 years. What has really changed is the people moving in, with an ever-younger demographic eschewing pre-fab modern (see: NoLibs) in favor of architectural charm. The result is a mecca for first-time homebuyers who want options: older single-family homes, new condos, fixer-uppers, move-in ready.
And while Fairmount is in the city, it’s not really of the city, with very real, very visual boundaries to the south (Ben Franklin Parkway) and west (Schuylkill River). So it’s become the natural planting ground for the growing number of university employees and Center City workers who want a place to play—that’d be along Fairmount Avenue, where the neighborhood’s critical mass of bars and restaurants is located—that isn’t where they work.
Fairmount: A Restaurant Revolution
A major restaurant renaissance has been officially under way here for the past year or so, with new eateries popping up with happy regularity. (Now if only a retail renaissance would follow, Fairmounters say wistfully.) Of particular note:
- La Calaca Feliz, with its reimagined Mexican staples and a secret garden out back for quiet alfresco dining.
- Hickory Lane, an upscale American bistro that steers clear of too much pretension for this down-to-earth ’hood.
- Marc Vetri’s Alla Spina, an upscale beer spot with (surprise!) Italian leanings, on the easternmost edge of Fairmount.
- Franklin Mortgage Jr.—okay, it’s actually called Lemon Hill—with craft cocktails of the egg-white-and-house-made-grenadine sort.
- In keeping with the Fairmount Civic Association’s push for more sidewalk cafes, the new Fairmount Coffee Company, set to open any day now at 26th and Poplar.
Data derived from HomExpert Market Report, a product of Prudential Fox & Roach, Realtors, Research Division.