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Q&A: Ambler Is the Suburb of City People’s Dreams

Ask any city dwellers about their resistance to moving to the ‘burbs, and you’ll undoubtedly hear them wax on about the lack of sidewalks or overreliance on cars. And, sure, that’s admittedly true for many regions, but it’s certainly not so for Ambler. With a darling movie theater and a bevy of local restaurants and shops along its main streets, Ambler touts the walkability of Philadelphia, but the space and charm of the suburbs. And after many years of being an up-and-coming residence, we can officially say Ambler is the suburb you want to move to.

To get the scoop about this accommodating locale, we chatted with two local Coldwell Banker Preferred affiliated sales associates. Here, their best tips and tricks for making the move to Ambler.

What’s the average price range for homes in Ambler?

Nina Nell: The majority of homes in Ambler Borough are in the $200,000 to $400,000 price range.

Who is moving to Ambler?

Nell: It is attracting many first time homebuyers. These are typically couples, families with young children, as well as singles. We are also seeing some empty nesters downsize and move to the borough. Investors also purchase in Ambler because they can attract young people who want to live and rent here.

What else is attracting these families with young children? Are the schools a draw?

Diane Reddington: There are four elementary schools in the district, one middle school and one high school.

Nell: Ambler is part of the highly regarded Wissahickon School District, and the elementary school that most children in the borough go to is Shady Grove.  It is also home to several pre-schools, and the Wissahickon Valley Library has a branch in Ambler.

It seems like folks are finally catching on to Ambler. How should potential homebuyers approach the process?

Nell: One indication of how “hot” Ambler is now is that the average days on market (DOM) is 44 which translates to an inventory accumulation of about one month!  This makes it somewhat of a seller’s market.  So, buyers need to be prepared to act quickly once they find their dream home.

What kinds and styles of homes should potential buyers expect?

Reddington: It’s beneficial to favor older homes. I think the biggest thing is to be prepared to compromise on a bathroom, or that the home is old and may not have new windows but it has the charm. Sometimes you’ll have a great location, but you might need to compromise on space. That said, it’s nice to be able to walk to the train or walk to get a cup of coffee!

Nell: Buyers should not be afraid to buy an older home that might need a little updating.  Sweat equity can go a long way!

Do families need to travel far for good grub?

Nell: There are numerous restaurants to enjoy — Italian, French, Indian, Mexican, and American Cuisine. There is a wine bar, a brew pub, gelato and coffee shops and bakeries. Alley Fries are a personal favorite (from KC’s Alley) as well as the ribs at the Lucky Well. Sitting at the bar at Bridget’s or Dettera you’re sure to run into friends. Same is true at just about any establishment.

Reddington: Dettera is beautiful and really popular. They have some outdoor seating when it’s warm. Bridget’s Steakhouse has great food and that’s in the heart of town. Ambler also has a restaurant week and a farmers market.

What arts and cultural institutions are there? What’s popular?

Nell: The Ambler Cinema and the Act II Playhouse attract people from throughout Montgomery County and both have played a big part in the restaurant explosion. Date night doesn’t get any better than a good show and a great meal.

For more information about buying or selling a home in the communities of the Greater Philadelphia area and the Delaware Valley, including southern New Jersey and northern Delaware, visit Coldwell Banker Preferred online at www.ColdwellBankerHomes.com

This interview has been condensed and edited for length.