September 14, 2015
South Jersey has long attracted Philadelphians looking to buy their first home or start a family. Drawn by more space, privacy and great public schools, many plant firm roots in these quaint small towns because of their strong sense of community and high quality of life.
Although a few of the region’s municipalities have historically been magnets for new families and Philly commuters, a new crop of up-and-coming hotspots are attracting savvy home buyers looking to invest in places on the rise. These towns are in the midst of transformative development, adding new residents and amenities at a rapid clip. Smart home shoppers can capitalize on this boom by adding these evolving communities to their list.
This funky suburban enclave is a favorite of young families, artists and commuters. Located along the PATCO Speedline, Collingswood denizens can be in Center City in less than 15 minutes. However, many elect to stay local: Collingswood’s lively Haddon Avenue downtown boasts more than a dozen restaurants and was named one of the best dining towns in the state by Inside Jersey magazine. Throw in a bevy of unique shops, galleries, and boutiques, and you’ve got all the trappings of the big city in a small town. And now’s the time to buy; last quarter, the median sales price for homes in Collingswood was $171,750.
Situated on the Delaware River’s eastern bank, Riverton is a charming, tree-lined hamlet dotted with Victorian houses. Walkable and scenic, Riverton’s picturesque downtown is home to many restaurants, shops and local businesses. The Riverton Yacht Club is among the nation’s oldest, and residents’ boats harbor there to this day, providing a stunning backdrop for strolls along the river. Linked to Philadelphia and New York by NJ Transit and the RiverLine Light Rail, this sylvan gem is great for commuters in search of greener spaces. Riverton remains affordable: The average home sale price there was $222,500 last quarter.
Conveniently situated at the nexus of Routes 70 and 73, Marlton is a commuter’s paradise. A short drive from Philadelphia, the Jersey Shore, and the NJ Turnpike, Marlton offers convenient access to all of the area’s attractions and jobs. But convenience doesn’t have to mean boring: Marlton is home to countless world-class restaurants, a charming main street and upscale shopping — including the tony Promenade at Sagemore. Marlton also offers great public schools, which have consistently been ranked among the best in the state. All these advantages are reflected in Marlton’s real estate market: average home sale prices have appreciated by 7.5 percent over the past five years.
Although it’s less than 25 miles from Philadelphia, Mullica Hill feels like an altogether different world. Acres of rolling hills and beautiful pastures define this historic Gloucester County community. Mullica Hill’s lovely downtown highlights its colonial roots — antique galleries and colorful Victorian structures dot the village’s main thoroughfares. And in 1991, the entire town was named to the National Register of Historic Places. But a place in history doesn’t mean the town is stagnant: real estate values are on the rise: The average listing price increased .7 percent to $343,781.
For buyers looking for easy access to Center City in a suburban setting, it doesn’t get much better than Voorhees. The PATCO Speedline’s Ashland stop is located within Voorhees city limits, and two others, Woodcrest and Lindenwold, are a quick trip for most residents. Its newly renovated Town Center offers dozens of stores, restaurants, and one of the Camden County Library system’s largest branches, which is a great resource for families. Voorhees’ public school system beats the national average on SAT test scores and sends 91 percent of students to college. Even with all of its advantages, Voorhees remains affordable: The average home sales price was $240,000 last quarter.
It’s clear that you don’t need to break the bank to enjoy the comforts of suburban living. Affordable properties in ascendant municipalities with easy access to Philadelphia abound. And an investment in one of these thriving towns that remain under the radar (for now) will pay massive dividends in the future!