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July 01, 2021

5 Philly neighborhoods to watch as a first-time homebuyer

Real Estate Neighborhoods

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Limited - Philadelphia neighborhood aerial shot looking towards Center City Michael Candelori/for PhillyVoice

While other cities in America saw a mass migration to the suburbs in 2020, the real estate market in Philadelphia boomed as long-time residents, first-time buyers, and relocating out-of-towners purchased homes throughout the city.

First-time buyers interested in picking up prime real estate in Philadelphia should start browsing for their dream home as soon as possible. Local listings are selling quickly so you need to watch closely if you are planning to buy in 2021.

Whether you are seeking a newly-constructed condo or a renovated row home, Prevu Real Estate has compiled a list of the most searched neighborhoods that first-time homebuyers are focused on right now in Philadelphia.

Point Breeze

A commuter-friendly neighborhood, Point Breeze is southwest of City Center. Neighbored by Passyunk Square to the east and Gray’s Ferry to the west, aspiring buyers can get to the vibrant district by taking the Broad Street Line and getting off at Tasker-Morris or Ellsworth-Federal.

“Many open lots formerly dotted the neighborhood, but developers filled the space by constructing modern rowhouses complete with finished basements and roof decks for new homeowners to purchase,” says Robert Epstine, a Prevu real estate agent and life-long Philly resident. “Many homeowners in the neighborhood have also updated their homes to feature centralized AC and offer remodeled interiors, allowing historic home lovers to enjoy the comfort of modern-day appliances.”

Point Breeze provides residents with access to top-rated coffee shops, low-key gastropubs, and there are plenty of opportunities for buyers to close a deal on a new construction property or rehab. After a day of property tours in Point Breeze, neighborhood explorers should check out the numerous murals in the neighborhood, like Keith Haring’s “We The Youth” masterpiece at 22nd street and Elsworth.

Browse listings for sale in Point Breeze

Northern Liberties

Located to the north of City Center, catty-corner from Fishtown across Girard Avenue and Front Street, and bordered by the Delaware River, Northern Liberties is a staple in Philadelphia. Buyers will find some homes with roots to the founding of Philadelphia. But the housing stock of the neighborhood is not just filled with historic rowhomes and former mansions converted into multi-family units.

Homebuyers seeking modern amenities will find freshly built, luxury condominiums throughout the neighborhood. NoLibs is what locals call Northern Liberties, and commuters can take the Market–Frankford Elevated Line, or “the El” as it is commonly known, to the neighborhood.

“Beyond the stellar views and historic homes, first-time buyers will fall in love with Northern Liberties because of the varied restaurants and pubs servicing Philadelphians,” notes Todd Hovanec, Director of Real Estate Services for Prevu in Philadelphia. “Del Rossi’s Cheesesteak is a famous haunt, where diners can get their famous Pizza Steak, which is perfect after a day of attending open houses in Northern Liberties.”

Browse listings for sale in Northern Liberties


Prospective buyers looking to close a deal in one of the hippest neighborhoods in Philadelphia have to check out Fishtown. Longshoremen working the historic fishing and shipbuilding industries of Philadelphia used to reside in Fishtown, as the seafront district provided housing close to the riverfront.

While the industries have moved on, the brickwork facades and decorative corbels of two-story rowhouses dating back to the 1800s remain. Aspiring homeowners attending open houses in this waterfront neighborhood can utilize buses, trolley cars, and the El to get around as parking is notoriously hard to come by.

When dining in Fishtown, residents are more likely to stumble across a beer garden, brewery, or taproom than a seafood restaurant. Music lovers will fall in love with the neighborhood, as it boasts a collection of dive bar concert venues like Kung Fu Necktie and Johnny Brenda’s, which will hopefully get back to live music post-pandemic. Visitors to Fishtown should stop by and support the Memphis Tap Room by getting a bite and a brew, then continue down East Cumberland Street to find Graffiti Pier and Pebble Beach.

Browse listings for sale in Fishtown

Graduate Hospital

First-time buyers persuing houses in Point Breeze should also wander to the north and check out Graduate Hospital. Southwest of City Center, Graduate Hospital is a popular spot for medical workers and students working at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

The neighborhood has revitalized in recent years as Graduate Hospital is right on the Schuylkill River, making the district a prime location for homebuyers. Philadelphians can expect a real estate market filled with remodeled single-family homes and increasing stocks of newly-constructed, multi-family units near the river.

The proximity of Graduate Hospital to City Center, and University City across the Schuylkill River, makes this neighborhood an attractive destination for educators, lawyers, and other professionals looking for a dynamic neighborhood adjacent to the districts where they work. Buyers exploring Graduate Hospital should visit the Schuylkill riverfront, where they can take in views of the University of Pennsylvania across the river and spend time along the Schuylkill Banks Boardwalk.

Browse listings for sale in Graduate Hospital


Just up the Schuylkill River, Philadelphia residents will find the historic and hilly neighborhood of Manayunk. The sloping topography and riverfront access provided the original settlers with an ideal region to build the town.

Today, Manayunk attracts young professionals that desire small-town life while keeping downtown Philadelphia within reach. Buyers exploring properties in Manayunk will find two-story rowhouses neatly arranged down streets, to larger Victorian homes complete with viewing towers overlooking this riverfront neighborhood. Towards Main Street and Cressen Street, prospective homeowners will find industrial-era loft-style condos overlooking the Schuylkill River.

Beyond housing, Main Street in Manayunk is also filled with bars, restaurants and provides access to Venice Island, featuring waterside parks and a performing arts center. While Manayunk is northwest of downtown Philadelphia, the neighborhood has a SEPTA stop to the north at the Manayunk station near Main Street and the Wissahickon station to the south.

Browse listings for sale in Manayunk