Bucolic living and great schools are luring families away from the more-developed ‘burbs.
Median home price: $420,000
Increase in median prices of properties sold (2011 to 2012): 60.4 percent
Decrease in average days on market (2011 to 2012): 28.5 percent
Ask most people to list Philly suburbs, and they’ll tick them off like so: Main Line, Bucks County, South Jersey, and then … the others, that vague swath of land 25 or so miles west of the city. But ask any of the 7,000 residents of Delco’s Thornbury Township—which encompasses Cheyney, Thornton and a sliver of West Chester—and they’ve found, as township chairman Jim Raith describes it, “the diamond in the rough.”
Here, there’s just one traffic light (really, just one on all of the winding country roads); residents don’t have to worry about any extra real estate tax from the township; and homeowners can stretch out in relatively new construction (much of which is situated on more than an acre). “It’s the new Chadds Ford,” realtor Susan Schroeder says matter-of-factly, noting the competitive prices and can’t-beat accessibility (just minutes from 202, Route 1 and I-76, with a train station five minutes away).
But beyond stark numbers is the feeling—that unmistakable neighborly charm that manifests itself in movies in the park, sand castle displays and public fishing derbies. It’s a place that seems to be unfazed by the way other towns are doing things; leave the flashy shopping centers to the guys up the 202 corridor, thankyouverymuch. And people—specifically, young, move-up families with school-aged children (the school district is top-ranked West Chester)—are taking notice: Home sales surged by more than 60 percent from 2011 to 2012, and, conversely, the average days on market dipped by 30 percent in the same time period. Translation: People are grabbing up a good thing while the gettin’s good.
Thornbury Township: That Neighborly, Small-Town Feeling
“This is a unique community—small enough that your neighbors are your friends and there’s a genuine concern for each other, large enough that you can maintain your privacy and not feel crowded. Shopping is very convenient; stores like Target, Staples, Home Goods, Acme, Giant, Wawa, Starbucks, CVS, banks, pizza places, etc., are all within a five-minute drive. We used to have a neighborhood restaurant that everyone gathered in frequently—the kind of place that reminded you of Cheers. It has closed down and is being renovated. We’re all anxiously waiting for it to reopen.”
—Susan Daudert, 43, a municipal worker who lives with her husband and three children
Data derived from HomExpert Market Report, a product of Prudential Fox & Roach, Realtors, Research Division.