The Hottest Suburban Philadelphia Neighborhoods

Whether you prefer the idyllic open spaces of Montgomery County or Conshohocken’s quick city commute, these are the best, most sought-after spots in Philly’s suburbs.

New Hope

A mass migration from tax-happy Jersey has meant great things for this picture-book town.

New-Hope-philadelphia-suburb-real-estate

Median home price: $505,500
Increase in median prices of properties sold (2011 to 2012): 48.7 percent
Increase in number of properties sold (2011 to 2012): 17.9 percent

Though this population-2,500 borough has long been a draw for the young, the restless and the gay, the lure of so­lid schools, a walkable town, and something-for-everyone housing stock has now made it the perfect choice
for community-minded folk yearning for a hipper slice of the Gilmore Girls’ Stars Hollow. “It was really quirky and alternative when we moved here,” says Dan Kramli, who owns the New Hope Fitness gym and has lived here with his wife and daughters for a decade. “It’s gotten way more family-oriented since.”

An influx of Jerseyans clobbered by big property taxes (in some cases twice as high) and relentless flooding along the Jersey side of the Delaware has also fed the New Hope boomlet. The median price of a si­ngle-family home shot up almost 50 percent from 2011 to 2012; home sales increased by 18 percent. “I get a lot of calls from people looking to retire,” says Dee Dee Bowman, a realtor and 30-year resident. “They’re downsizing from New Jersey, and Pennsylvania doesn’t tax retirement income.”

While New Hope does impose an unpopular one percent income tax, the math still works out for many. The sell is the Sesame Street neighborliness, reflected in everything from the lines at Gerenser’s Exotic Ice Cream to the annual beanbag-toss tournament at the Landing Restaurant. “It’s just a wonderful mix of people,” Bowman says. “A very interesting place to live.”

New Hope: Spirited Nightlife for Empty Nesters

  • New Hope is a hit with … empty nesters; coupled hipsters who want a boho vibe and good schools; gays.
  • The food scene …is eh. Marsha Brown, housed in an old baronial church, draws platinum-card-waving tourists, but in-the-know locals flock to clubby, members-only Fred’s Breakfast.
  • Shopping … is a bit tacky (Radko Christmas ornaments! Wiccan candles!), but the Celt-Iberia Traders, featuring Irish and Spanish wares, is gift-giver heaven.
  • Nightlife … is spirited. Locals love the open-air patios at the Landing, Havana and the Logan Inn. The Raven is a gay mecca.
  • Schools … The New Hope-Solebury district is one of the state’s smallest but best. Sports culture is strong; even those without kids turn out to cheer.
  • Residents’ pet peeve … The $(@*&! motorcycles on weekends. Many bikers sport souped-up engines, wrecking your alfresco brunch. A crackdown has been MIA.

Data derived from HomExpert Market Report, a product of Prudential Fox & Roach, Realtors, Research Division.

Click here to see the scoop on Thornbury Township.

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  • Bob V

    We moved to Green Lane just about 12 years ago. It is a great place to live and raise a family!

  • east g

    If you think you can get from this region to center city in an hour…you’re going to have a bad time. You can make it in a bit over an hour if every driver on the road is smart or there is no construction/accident or it is 2 a.m.

    There are a lot of aggressive commuter and contractor drivers around here because they think every day should be smooth and quick for them.

    Your kids dare not bicycle or walk along any road at any time here, thanks to them.

  • kenny

    I love living in Lower Merion. It has a certain degree of panache and hubris which makes us glad that we don’t live in the inner city anymore. Hooray for snob appeal!