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Realtor Q&A: Is Devon the Ultimate Main Line Suburb?

If you’re poised to live on the Main Line, you’re unlikely to strike out in the charming suburb department. With general accessibility via regional rail, plenty of local retail and great schools across the board, you’re pretty much set. But as far as innovation goes, it’s Devon that’s marrying tradition (it’s home to the eponymous Devon Horse Show) and development thanks to Urban Outfitters’ proposed plans for a ‘lifestyle village’ that will feature retail and residential components.

To get the skinny on actually living in Devon, though, we consulted two local Coldwell Banker Preferred affiliated sales associates who primed us on the local real estate scene (plus, where to look if you’re on a budget!).

What’s your favorite Devon hidden gem?

Sarah Forti: The not-so-hidden gem but something I must mention is the Devon Horse Show grounds. Yes, Main Liners know “the” Devon Horse Show as our must-do family outing, but most people don’t realize it hosts additional (less crowded!) events throughout the year. For example, just a few weeks ago was the Devon Fall Classic. Then, at the end of September is the Dressage at Devon which is a premier equestrian show in North America. There are also children’s activities and even a dog show!

Pete Simonetti: Other notable things in Devon include the Jenkins Arboretum, a nonprofit botanical garden open to the public daily from 8am to sunset with free admission. [There are also] off-the-beaten-path places like Pour Richards Coffee, Devon Donuts and the Black Cat Cafe.

What’s the average price range for residences in Devon?

Simonetti: The real estate market is varied and ranges from one bedroom condos from around $160,000 all the way up to large $1-$3 million estates and everything in between.

What should buyers expect about the house hunt in Devon?

Simonetti: Homes in great locations that are in great shape can sell quickly — sometimes within days. Through August, 410 properties sold in [Easttown Township] compared to 389 for the same period last year.

Forti: There is a pretty big variety of homes available in Devon. There are small condos, twin homes full of charm, Colonial-style homes and sprawling estates [amongst other styles]. Within one-half mile you can pass a $200K condo and then be in front of a $3M estate. Land is limited in the area and the townships are strict with building ordinances and preserving open space. It’s not uncommon for buyers to lower their expectations either, and buy something they plan on fixing up. If you drive through the area, there is a construction sign on just about every third lawn.

How do you expect Devon to be different in 10 years?

Forti: I expect to see the commercial development along Lancaster Avenue spread out beyond the current pockets of each town. We’ve been seeing this in Devon with the expansion of commercial space immediately west of the Whole Foods. A few years ago the site of Waterloo Gardens was purchased by a developer who has since leased it to Urban Outfitters. I know I, for one, am anxiously awaiting to hear that [what?] the township ultimately approves to be built there. Urban Outfitter’s current proposal includes an Anthropologie, a Terrain garden center (makes sense since their designing half the gardens in Devon!), Mark Vetri restaurants (sorely needed) and even high-end residential rentals. The plan, called Devon Yards, has been years in the making and the township, residents and developers are certainly taking their time to make sure it satisfies as many people as possible. This will bring more of a town center to Devon which is, right now, a sprawling area of residences and businesses in between the “downtowns” of Wayne and Berwyn.

For folks who may not have the budget for Devon, what would you say is a comparable alternative?

Forti: Typically the further west you go, the more bang you get for your buck. There are some cute neighborhoods in Berwyn, Paoli, and if you’re willing to go further, Malvern is an adorable town going through a little bit of a transformation with new retail space, Christopher’s, Kimberton Whole Foods and some new construction opportunities. There are plenty of older homes full of charm and within walking distance of King Street where you will find the Flying Pig Saloon, boutique shopping, antique stores and restaurants. Similar to Devon, Malvern is a deep-rooted community with an affinity for horses, and still accessible to Main Line and train access to Philadelphia.

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.