The Philadelphia Real Estate Blog


Urban Neighborhoods & the Fringe! 4 Tips To Appreciation Potential In Philadelphia

Urban Neighborhoods & the Fringe

4 Tips To Appreciation Potential In Philadelphia

I just read a  Real Estate question asked by a young couple looking to purchase a home.  What is the best neighborhood for appreciation ?It was regarding the appreciation potential of 2 fantastic "fringe" Philadelphia neighborhoods, Francisville versus Point Breeze.  Since the fringe neighborhoods are my specialty I had to answer. I said, "It is a tie ! Both are winners for appreciation."

What I'd like to share with all prospective buyers and future sellers in Philadelphia is that these fringe neighborhoods follow the same Universal Rule in Real Estate: Location, Location, Location !

Appreciation in the "fringe" areas of Center City Philadelphia neighborhoods have gained a lot of turbo charged momentum from the Real Estate boom a few years ago.  The fringe neighborhoods are those blocks and subdivisions just outside of the Center City Metro Area. They are largely residential and offer the feel of an "urban village". The fringes of Philly have been the location of choice for many people moving back into the city, myself included. So, a lot of revitalization has been concentrated in, for example, Graduate Hospital and the Art Museum sections. It is only natural that those neighborhoods influence the values of their surrounding districts. Graduate Hospital has influenced the development of Point Breeze.  The Art Museum has influenced the areas of Francisville and Brewerytown. Other neighborhoods such as Northern Liberties have influenced Old Kensington as well as Fishtown and Queen Village has influenced Pennsport (just to name a few other examples.)

For buyers purchasing right now and within the next year in these fringe neighborhoods, the 4-5 year plan focused on partaking in some appreciation will work.  Though, the question still remains, how do you choose the right Urban Neighborhood in order to capitalize on appreciation over a 4-5 year time period ?  The answer is:  You have to do it block by block.  Here are four suggestions that may help people identify a potentially appreciating area:

1) First, pick a neighborhood close to the border or "fringe" of an established community that you really enjoy. This fringe neighborhood should offer you an environment you feel is comfortable for you and is within your price range.

2)Once you have chosen a neighborhood, choose the blocks where there are few to no vacant properties. Those blocks have a jump start on appreciation since they are all occupied and preferably cared for.  Sometimes one well maintained block is like a beacon and can be the inspiration for other buyers to move into the community.

3) Even if there are a few rugged looking homes, look for signs of development on the block. Typically where one or more investors and homeowners are making big improvements to homes, there are more to come in the near future. It is like a domino effect.

4)Look for proactive neighbors getting involved to keep th streets clean and drug free as well as a strong neighborhood association. A strong neighborhood association is the life blood of a community. (Ex. Fishtown Neighborhood Association, Northern Liberties Neighborhood Association...)

I hope that these thoughts, tips and opinions serve to help you understand some of the considerations that can be taken when looking to partake in the appreciation of an urban neighborhood in the Philadelphia fringe.  Please share your own thoughts and experiences in a comment.

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I bought a home in a "fringe neighborhood" back in 1984 for $122,500 and sold it in 2005 for $725,000.  The risks are greater as not every area gets better, but the potential for appreciation is greater as well when the area improves.   

Posted by Gail Robinson, CRS, GRI, e-PRO Fairfield County, CT (William Raveis Real Estate) over 8 years ago

Christopher and Stephanie,  I loved the question that was asked and the way you answered it.  Choosing an area you would like to give back to and live in seems ideal and there will certainly be appreciation as the area continues to thrive.  I admit my favorite listings of yours are in Northern Liberties.....I love the homes in that area!

Posted by Laura Cerrano, Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher (Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island) over 8 years ago

Gail - Now that is a great success story ! I agree that the risks are a little bit greater, but the rewards are well worth it.  It is awesome to see a neighborhood grow and thrive and become a destination of sorts.  And even more rewarding to be part of it !

Carole- Yes, Northern Liberties is very special and we are a bit biased towards it since we live there too !  Trulia Voices is a great way to interact with consumers by asking the questions.  And like this, many of those questions are an inspiration for a blog post !


Posted by Christopher and Stephanie Somers - Realtors - Philadelphia Real Estate (Realtor / Owner - RE/MAX Access) over 8 years ago

It's great that The Somers Team is there to guide investors in the fringe.  I love my house and it's location.  I made the best decision to buy here in Old Kensington and can't wait to see what the future holds for it.  I most likely would not be here if it was not for the hard work you two put into helping investors like me realize the potential.  Thanks for all that you do!

Posted by Patrick Keenan over 8 years ago