Survey: Philly Has 3 of “10 Hottest Affordable Neighborhoods” in the Nation

East Mt. Airy came in second on Redfin's nationwide list. The other two are in the Northeast.

hottest affordable neighborhoods mt. airy night market germantown avenue

Germantown Avenue unites East and West Mt. Airy far more than it divides the two neighborhoods. According to Redfin, both are among the hottest neighborhoods in the city, and East Mt. Airy is the second hottest affordable neighborhood in the nation. | Photo: R. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia

Looking for a hot neighborhood you can afford to buy in?

Time to get your East Mt. Airy groove on.

The famously integrated neighborhood in Northwest Philly ranked second on Redfin’s list of the “10 Hottest Affordable Neighborhoods of 2019.”

East Mt. Airy was one of three Philadelphia neighborhoods to make the online brokerage’s Top 10 list. Only one other city — Baltimore — had as many.

If living in Northwest Philly is not your cup of tea, maybe you might want to consider the Northeast instead? The other two Philly neighborhoods on Redfin’s list, No. 6 Fox Chase and No. 9 Bustleton, are both located up that way.

Redfin produced this list by adapting the methodology it uses for its annual “10 Hottest Neighborhoods” list. The rankings are produced in both cases by tracking year-over-year growth in listing views and favorites and combining those with insights from local Redfin agents. The difference: the list of affordable neighborhoods has a median sale price cap of $294,000, which is the median sale price for houses in all the markets Redfin serves nationwide.

Local Redfin agent Michael Severns ascribes the increased interest in these three neighborhoods to changes in younger families’ needs and desires as they grow older.

“The people who were buying in the old hot neighborhoods like Fishtown or Northern Liberties are growing up, and they want bigger houses,” he says. “They’re looking for that suburban space and feel, but they still want to pay city [property] taxes.”

Availability of parking may also explain the increased interest. “Most of the homes in Fox Chase are going to have either a driveway or a garage,” he says. “If you live in the city, you know parking is a huge issue. Why would you pay an extra $65,000 or $75,000 for a parking spot in Northern Liberties when you can pay only $5,000 to $7,000 extra for one here?”

Severns also saw the neighborhood shopping districts in East Mt. Airy and Fox Chase as assets that lure buyers. “People love those little mom-and-pop shops and restaurants,” he says. We saw that in Northern Liberties; before it became ‘Northern Liberties,’ people began coming to the small shops and restaurants there.”

The hottest affordable neighborhood in the country, by the way, is Chicago’s McKinley Park, according to Redfin.

East Mt. Airy and Bustleton also made Redfin’s list of the three hottest neighborhoods in Philadelphia, period. In between them: West Mt. Airy. “West Mt. Airy and East Mt. Airy are like the big brother and the little brother,” says Severns. “West Mt. Airy is the high-value big brother and East Mt. Airy is the more affordable little brother.”

The 10 hottest neighborhoods overall nationwide consisted entirely of neighborhoods of pricey houses in several famously expensive coastal metros: Los Angeles, San Francisco/Oakland, Seattle and Washington, D.C. Most of the national 10 hottest have median house prices above $1 million.