Top 5 Philadelphia Neighborhoods for First Home Buyers

Posted on Dec 01, 2020


Conversations about Philadelphia real estate typically revolve around which neighborhoods are heating up the most – yet the unique needs of first time home buyers often go unaddressed.

Rittenhouse, for example, is ideally located just a stone’s throw from center city offices and many great restaurants, but that prime location comes with high prices and limited square footage, making it impractical for young families who need space and millennials still juggling student loans.

First time home buyers are looking for a good deal in a neighborhood they can get to know intimately. We reviewed real estate data and spoke with several of our top real estate agents to see what they had to say.

Here are five neighborhoods first time home buyers in Philadelphia should be taking a look at – they hit all the right notes of affordability, accessibility, walkability, and family-friendly potential. 

Philadelphia Neighborhood Guide: Passyunk Square 

South Philadelphia has a vibrant culture all of its own. Passyunk Ave is the trendy center of this neighborhood with plenty of hip wine bars and restaurants while still retaining a bit of old-fashioned charm. Row homes, single-family homes, and duplexes are common here, and the area has remained more affordable than Queen Village just a few blocks north. Lately Passyunk has been a magnet for talented chefs, ensuring this is a foodie-friendly neighborhood.

Passyunk Square: Real Estate Trends

In the last couple decades, immigrant families settling into this area brought it back from sleepy, to snappy – and millennials soon followed. Today, Passyunk is frequently touted as one of the coolest neighborhoods in Philadelphia – yet remains a great place for first time homeowners to invest. Center City is only a 10 minute bus ride away, while a great mix of grocery stores, shops and parks make this area extremely walkable. 

What our local Realtor has to say about Passyunk Square:

“Passyunk Square has an inviting atmosphere and easy access to Center City,” says Houwzer buyer agent Allison Dubovsky. “It has some of the best restaurants, bars, bakeries, and cafes in the city.”

What Can You Get?

Take a look at the current Houwzer homes for sale in or around Passyunk Square.

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This 1,186 sq.ft home in Passyunk Square listed for $390,000 last winter and sold through Houwzer. For this price, homeowners received 3 bedrooms, 1 bath, a newly renovated kitchen, a private backyard, and gorgeous hardwood flooring throughout. 

  • Average home price today: $369,000
  • Average home price 5 years ago: $278,000
  • Number of residents: 8,653
  • Median age: 33.9
  • Walkability score: 92
  • Local bar: Barcelona Wine Bar
  • Local restaurant: Mole Poblano
  • Local coffee spot: Black N Brew
  • Fun Daytime Activity: The Italian Market

#2. Philadelphia Neighborhood Guide: Cedar Park

Cedar Park, Philadelphia is the leafy oasis many young families are looking for. Nestled in the heart of West Philadelphia, this neighborhood is popular among dog owners who appreciate the quiet sidewalks and many parks within walking distance. Nearby Baltimore Avenue has shops, cafes and restaurants perfect for first-time homeowners who crave walkability. A diverse neighborhood allows for multiple cultures and perspectives to inform this slice of West Philly.

Cedar Park: Real Estate Trends

Beautiful gingerbread-like Victorian houses are the norm here, appealing to first time homeowners who hate sacrificing space but appreciate convenience – trolly lines bring commuters to Center City within a half hour. Nearby University of Pennsylvania offers a forgivable home loan to their employees, meaning that many homes in the area have been updated and well-maintained over the past couple decades.

What our local Realtor has to say about Cedar Park:

“Cedar Park is a family-friendly and diverse neighborhood attracting young professionals and shop owners alike – it’s the perfect spot for first time home buyers,” says senior Buyer Agent Brett Stephenson.

What Can You Get?

Take a look at the current Houwzer homes for sale in Cedar Park.

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This 2,592 sq.ft home in Cedar Park listed for $430,000 in 2018 and sold through Houwzer. For this price, homeowners received 5 bedrooms, 3 ½ baths, a fenced-in backyard, a completely finished basement, and gorgeous exposed brick and wood floor detailing.

  • Average home price today: $360,000
  • Average home price 5 years ago: $249,000
  • Number of residents: 8,653
  • Median age: 33.9
  • Walkability score: 92
  • Local bar: Loco Pez
  • Local restaurant: Abyssinia 
  • Local coffee spot: Cedar Park Cafe
  • Fun Daytime Activity: Bartram’s Garden

#3. Philadelphia Neighborhood Guide: Point Breeze 

Point Breeze, Philadelphia has been undergoing intense urban revitalization over the past five years – expect to see new construction on nearly every block. Why are people calling this an up-and-coming neighborhood? Its relative affordability combined with close proximity to the city center has made it a favorite among first time home buyers. Hip coffee shops and nearby Passyunk restaurants make this a neighborhood that’s easy to fall in love with. 

Point Breeze: Real Estate Trends

The great deals to be had in Point Breeze may not hold out for too much longer as more and more people buy property here as an investment opportunity. South Philadelphia is known for its neighborly vibes, which Point Breeze has plenty of – and it’s something that many young families are actively searching for. Brick row homes are a staple of the area, and first time home owners appreciate that you can get a relatively roomy home for a lot less money than in similar conveniently-located parts of the city.

What Can You Get?

Take a look at the current Houwzer homes for sale in Point Breeze.

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This 960 sq.ft home in Point Breeze was listed for $300,000 in 2019 and sold through Houwzer. For this price, homeowners received 2 bedrooms, 1.5 baths, a modern kitchen, new flooring, a private backyard, and beautiful exposed brick detailing throughout.

  • Average home price today: $300,000
  • Average home price 5 years ago: $189,000
  • Number of residents: 12,391
  • Median age: 36
  • Walkability score: 91
  • Local bar:American Sardine Bar
  • Local restaurant: Bangin' Curry Franklin
  • Local coffee spot: Two Eagles Cafe
  • Fun Daytime Activity: Bury the Hatchet Ax Throwing

#4. Philadelphia Neighborhood Guide: Mount Airy (East)

Don’t worry – there’s no mountains to climb here. Mt. Airy, Philadelphia has a storied history as a diverse and welcoming community that goes back many decades. A historic cobblestoned business corridor provides a welcoming array of shops and restaurants, while the Wissahickon Park is only a quick bike ride away. Mt. Airy succeeds at being an affordable suburb of Philadelphia with close proximity to the city center. 

Mt. Airy East: Real Estate Trends

For young families that want to get into the city without opting for an hour-long commute, homes for sale in Philadelphia’s Mt. Airy are an obvious choice. Parks, a library complete with hammocks, a karate dojo and a pottery studio ensure there’s plenty of ways to keep kids occupied on the weekends. Well-built, turn-of-the-century homes often feature stone as a building material, and yards are generously sized. Mt. Airy East homes share a lot of similarities with Chestnut Hill and Mt. Airy West homes up the street, yet manage to come with a much cheaper price tag.

What our local Realtor has to say about Mt. Airy:

“Mount Airy is a heavy outdoors neighborhood with potentially massive home footprints,” says senior buyer agent Chad Eason. “Mature trees in almost every direction, and if you like the outdoors then you have access to the Wissahickon creek and all of its beauty from multiple points. Don’t forget the commercial corridor on Germantown Ave has tons of great restaurants and pubs and other stores to frequent as well!”

What Can You Get?

 Take a look at the current Houwzer homes for sale in Mount Airy (East).

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This 1,144 sq.ft home in East Mt. Airy was listed for $237,000 in 2020 and sold through Houwzer. For this price, homeowners received 3 bedrooms, 1 bath, a modern kitchen, hardwood floors, an updated kitchen, an outdoor deck, and one car garage with a private driveway. 

  • Average home price today: $220,000
  • Average home price 5 years ago: $162,000
  • Number of residents: 27,035
  • Median age: 45.8
  • Walkability score: 70
  • Local bar: Earth Bread + Brewery
  • Local restaurant:Trattoria Mama
  • Local coffee spot: Morina Cafe
  • Fun Daytime Activity: Cresheim Trail

#5. Philadelphia Neighborhood Guide: Brewerytown 

Brewerytown is constantly making lists of top up-and-coming neighborhoods in Philadelphia, and it’s not hard to see why. Walk down tree-lined streets to one of many cafes, and enjoy close proximity to the city without losing the charm of residential living. Fairmont Park is only a quick run or bike ride away, and this is a family-friendly area with plenty of multi-bedroom, single-family homes and small yards to choose from. 

Brewerytown: Real Estate Trends

So why is Brewerytown a magnet right now for first time home buyers? For many, it’s a place to live as well as an investment property. The area hasn’t yet seen the steep rise in property value like Fishtown and Spring Garden has, yet it has the potential to really blossom thanks to easy access to Center City and a bevy of restaurants, bars, and parks to frequent. A reputation as one of the coolest neighborhoods in Philadelphia, multiple options for public transportation, and historic significance help seal the deal. 

What our local Realtor has to say about Brewerytown:

“Brewerytown is a great location. Close to the largest urban park in the country and to the Philadelphia Zoo, with lots of commercial spaces carving out mainstays and new ones being built. Not to mention, it’s a quick bike ride or bus ride to center city,” says Senior Buyer Agent Chad Eason.

What Can You Get?

Take a look at the current Houwzer homes for sale in Brewerytown

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This 1,280 sq.ft home in Brewerytown was listed for $250,800 in 2018 and sold through Houwzer. For this price, homeowners received 3 bedrooms, 1 bath, an open floor plan, new hardwood floors, central air, and a spacious backyard area with a deck.

  • Average home price today: $212,000
  • Average home price 5 years ago: unknown
  • Number of residents: 10,658
  • Median age: 37.6
  • Walkability score: 75
  • Local bar: Crime & Punishment Brewing
  • Local restaurant: Spot Gourmet Burgers
  • Local coffee spot: The Monkey and the Elephant
  • Fun Daytime Activity: Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site

Of course, this list of the best neighborhoods in Philadelphia for first time home buyers doesn’t cover everything – there are plenty of great deals in nearly every neighborhood across the metro area. Schedule a consultation with one of our buyer agents to start getting a feel for which neighborhood will be right for you.

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