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.

Thornbury Township

Bucolic living and great schools are luring families away from the more-developed ‘burbs.

Thornbury-Township-pennsylvania

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.

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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!