A new appreciation for one of Philly's older neighborhoods
One in a continuing series spotlighting real estate markets in the region's communities. A long time ago, a feature called "Living In" ran each week in the Real Estate section.
One in a continuing series spotlighting real estate markets in the region's communities.
A long time ago, a feature called "Living In" ran each week in the Real Estate section.
The March 1, 1992, installment was about Germantown, which it described as "an original," where "residents take pride in their historic dwellings, their diversity, and their sense of community."
How has Germantown changed in the almost quarter-century since then?
While the neighborhood's real estate market is better these days, "I would say that the nature of Germantown has not changed that much," says Ruth Feldman, of McCarthy Associates/Weichert Realtors.
"The beautiful old houses in the Tulpehocken historic neighborhood are still very much desired by a certain group of buyers who appreciate those homes and their relative affordability as compared to Mount Airy and Chestnut Hill," Feldman says.
The median sale price for houses here in the last three months was $95,525 , according to Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach Realtors HomExpert Market Report, based on data from Trend Multiple Listing Service.
Feldman adds, "I think those residents still 'take pride in their historic dwellings, their diversity, and their sense of community.' "
John O'Connell, an agent with Elfant Wissahickon Realtors who sells in the neighborhood, thinks "the Germantown market overall is solid."
"Of course, there are always little pockets here and there which have not done as well as others, but, again, overall I've seen nothing but positive results," O'Connell says.
Among recent buyers are parents of students at the Waldorf School, which relocated in 2015 from Mount Airy to the former campus of St. Peter's Church on Wayne Avenue.
"We are definitely experiencing an influx of families into the neighborhood," said admissions director Alex Borders, including several from Brooklyn, N.Y., and "some of our own community members relocating" to areas near the school.
Singer-songwriter Birdie Busch bought a house in Germantown two years ago with her partner, the bassist Todd Erk.
"I love older things," says Busch, a Collingswood native, "so I like the idea that, in a time of great moving around and leveling of a lot of our original building stock in Philly, it feels good planting myself in a Civil War-era house built like a champ."
Busch calls herself "a huge believer in humans and keeping my life always open to people of all ages, backgrounds, and walks of life."
"Germantown seems to truly take that to heart, and I find neighbors almost hold you to it," Busch says. "Understanding where we all are coming from is a priority that I think defines the Germantown spirit, and I don't see that fading."
Some friendships Busch has built with older neighbors have changed her life greatly, she says, and she considers them "key inspirational bonds that sparked me to challenge myself to be a better human."
What has changed since 1992 is that "the decline of Germantown has been reversed and the neighborhood is heading in a much better direction," says developer Ken Weinstein, whose nearly two-year-old program, Jumpstart Germantown, is designed to improve the housing stock one piece at a time.
Among the newcomers, Weinstein says, are some buyers who were priced out of hot neighborhoods such as University City and Fishtown.
Demand for houses and apartments here is higher than ever, he says, and "the closeness to Fairmount Park and the affordability of the neighborhood continue to attract new blood to the Germantown community."
Angela Miles, owner of Carpe Diem Construction and a resident here for five years, says the headline on that 1992 article "could be written today - not in the sense that nothing has changed, but the undercurrent of pride in each person's voice."
"It's something in the way I say, 'I live in Germantown,' " Miles says.