The Northern Hamlets of Montgomery County
People and investors are migrating into the far reaches of wealthy Montgomery County, where land is still affordable and commuting is easy.
Median home price: $153,000
Increase in number of properties sold (2011 to 2012): 36.7 percent
Decrease in average days on market (2011 to 2012): 18.2 percent
It’s pretty out here in the far stretches of Montgomery County; the rolling hills are dotted with old stone barns, cornfields and … vast new townhome developments, as a slow migration toward open land and affordable housing rolls northward.
Hamlets bleed together along what they all call “Main Street”—Red Hill, Pennsburg, East Greenville, full of handsome brick Victorians and homey small-town plumbers, a frame shop, antiques stores and pizza spots. Along with the Walmart Supercenter, you’ll find the American Legion and Kiwanis and churches; that main drag’s just built for parades, and folks here take any excuse to hold one … or a peach festival or oyster picnic. There’s nothing fancy at Green Lane Park, the 3,400-acre playground outside town—just hiking, camping, fishing, tennis, boats to rent. The restored 1920s Grand movie theater on the main drag shows one flick at a time on one screen, the old-fashioned way. But access to the Northeast Extension—it’s 15 minutes east—combined with the genuine small-town feel have made this corner a hot spot with young families; the median age is 10 years below that of the state at large, and home prices in Pennsburg and East Greenville have nearly doubled in the past decade despite the recession. “If the area didn’t have overhead power lines,” snipes one area realtor, “it would be as hot as Chester County.”
Northern MontCo Hamlets: Bucolic, Family-Friendly, and Gorgeous
- This part of Montco is a hit with … families with school-age kids.
- The food scene … is basic: Tosco’s for pizza, killer gyros at the diner, retro-’50s Goody’z for burgers and shakes with a jukebox on the side. Or have the chicken fry breakfast at the Powderbourne Sportsman’s Club before heading out for a pheasant shoot.
- Shopping … isn’t a drawing point, though again, the basics are covered.
- Nightlife … is the Grand, plus high-school sports and whatever the civic associations have cooked up. But you’re only an hour from Center City.
- Schools … The Upper Perkiomen district is well-regarded and a perennial sports powerhouse, especially in wrestling and field hockey.
- The most prevalent crime here is … nuisance stuff; rates are way below national averages.
- Biggest selling points … It’s far enough from busier hubs of civilization (King of Prussia, Philly) to seem bucolic, but not too far. Plus, those gorgeous old houses.
- Residents’ pet peeves … are the rate at which new developments are filling those lovely hills—plus the occasionally crowded parking along Main Street.
Data derived from HomExpert Market Report, a product of Prudential Fox & Roach, Realtors, Research Division.