Home Buying in Drexel Hill>Question Details

Mrs.Powell, Home Buyer in Glenside, PA

Why are homes in upper darby/drexel hill area so inexpensive? Where can I locate information on the area?

Asked by Mrs.Powell, Glenside, PA Mon Mar 2, 2009

We are first time homebuyers looking for a family friendly neighboorhood..we are trying to find a house that won't through us over budget PLUS where we can grow a family (good school districts!) - so why are these areas so cheap????

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13
If you want a completely sanitized white middle to upper class experience for your family, this is not the place. I attribute most of the negative comments here to fear and a dislike of diversity, not to the reality on the ground.

Upper Darby had one of the most diverse populations in the country. We moved here from NYC 20 years ago and people were saying "its not the same, its not safe". Not true, although you hear it from all the people that think success is moving to West Chester or Chester County and living in a McMansion.

This community has bad PR, but in reality is a great place to live. My 5 kids all went through the public schools and they are all doing fantastically in college and beyond. And they know and are comfortable with people of all races and colors. At last count at least 48 nationalities in the middle school alone.

We have a very strong parent base and an excellent school superintendent who is not only keeping the quality of our schools but improving them in many ways. Go to shows at the performing arts center, to community events, you will see a lot of good things.

I love the easy commute to Philadelphia, the big classic stone house we own and can afford and the ethnic variety in groceries and small mom and pop restaurants.

There is some crime, but the police are all over it. Taxes are higher than they should be, and a few small areas like Stonehurst are really struggling. But even in that area there are some great people trying to turn in around with a new farmers market, fixing up the parks and if you call the police about anything they are there in a second.

So I would urge anyone interested to visit, walk the streets, shop around and judge for yourself.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Mon Sep 29, 2014
houses in the area are NOT inexpensive. pay attention to the monthly payment amount, not the price of the property. a 3-bedroom, 1-bath twin home in DH that is listed for $160,000 attracts $400 - $510 per month in taxes. with 20% down payment, 6.5% APR, $185,000 purchase price, a 30-year term, your monthly principal and interest = $935.46. add $500/month in taxes and it climbs to $1,435.46/month. in a neighborhood with lower property taxes, you can buy a $250,000 house and make same monthly payment amount. so, you either pay a lower house price and higher taxes or a higher house price and lower taxes. the entire delaware county, pa, has higher property taxes. and, the bad thing with tax is that it will always go up while mortgage payments will always stay the same [assuming fixed financing rate].

for those of you who dislike high property taxes, talk to the legislatures in harrisburg. pa state has a very regressive income tax system. poor, rich, married, single taxpayers pay the same tax rate of about 3%! why not have multiple marginal tax rates like in the federal tax so that the rich will pay more in state income tax. the extra tax revenue can be used to help finance local education thereby reducing property taxes on home-owners. this system will be fairer because it will make taxes dependent on income instead of consumption. and, everyone, young and old, needs a place to live in.

the teachers in the public schools have a very strong unions which successfuly negotiate huge compensation for their members.

so, you can relocate to delaware state and pay lower property taxes and higher house prices. or, stay in delaware county,pa, and pay higher property taxes and lower house price. you make that decision. worse yet, move to new jersey state, pay higher income tax, property taxes, and house prices.

mark
1 vote Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 5, 2009
Our row home on Guilford Road Upper Darby lost half it's value by 2007 because of the crime: drive-by shootings, muggings, burglaries, kidnappings & rapes The drug dealing was right out in the open by 2002. The small alleys between row homes have become a drug dealers paradise. The cops were not even arresting residents who committed assaults witnessed by us and other neighbors. We sold our house at a great financial loss and finally left Upper Darby in 2010 because it is not safe any more. It is NOT a family-friendly place any more.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Aug 30, 2014
Don't do it! I'm looking for a way out myself! 7 years ago I bought a house in the nicer section of Upper Darby right by the Sellers Library. In those 7 years things went from wonderful to what the heck happened to this town. I paid well over 185000 for my place with taxes and interest and now I'm lucky if I get 120000 for it. Crime went crazy. I had a person get mugged outside my house! People moved away and the ones replacing them were uneducated, non-caring, slobs! There are 4 foreclosures in my street alone! The salt on the wound, a drug dealer moved his operations down the street but everyone is too scared to do anything about it. The High School still gives decent education but my daughter in middle school is constantly complaining that she isn't learning anything because of unruly students. Things have changed, a lot! Consider Upper Darby the new West Philly. RUN!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon May 27, 2013
Sections of Drexel Hill - Aronimink and Drexel Park - have lovely homes and family friendly neighborhoods. They are conveniently located near public transportation to Philadelphia and close to major routes, so it is easy to get to the surrounding suburbs and to the airport if you travel frequently with your job. The location, 8 miles southwest of Philadelphia, is ideal for enjoying the opportunities the city offers - theater, concerts, ballet, museums, restaurants, etc. You can get to Philly in a half hour. I have lived here for over 25 years, and love to stroll through the quiet tree lined neighborhoods past the elegant beautifully landscaped tudor and colonial homes. I can walk to the stores, restaurants, swim club, church, etc.There are lots of children in the area and it is a pleasure seeing them gather daily to play in the neighborhood. This area offers you the opportunity to live in a great house for a very reasonable price, and to live amongst good families. The downside of Drexel Hill is the taxes, and the school district. That is the trade off - you will have a beautiful home, but expect to reallocate the money saved to be used on private schools. There are many fine private schools in the area. I felt one of my best decisions was to send my children to Holy Child Academy - it was a wonderful experience. The town has plenty of activities for the children to get to know others in the neighborhood through baseball, basketball, football, swimming, theater, dance classes , etc. If you are realistic, and willing to assume the taxes and utilize private schools, you find these sections of Drexel Hill to be a wonderful place to settle down and raise your family.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Aug 7, 2012
Are you aware that an elderly white man who was waiting for a trolley at the Garrett Road Drexel Hill trolley stand was BLUDGEONED TO DEATH IN THE SPRING OF 2014 by a young black man playing the "knockout" game? There were 4 young men who came into that trolley stand together and the waiting passenger didn't stand a F'ING chance. YEAH - A WONDERFUL PLACE TO SETTLE DOWN. You are selling lies.
Flag Sat Aug 30, 2014
Certain areas of Drexel Hill are very nice, family friendly, with tight knit neighborhoods. Any town, anywhere is going to have it's not so nice sections. The taxes are definitely on the high side (I'm paying $6200). The upside to owning a home here is that I got a lot of house for my money, I've been able to renovate my home to my liking and I'll have my mortgage paid off in 10 more years- when I'm 42 years old. I definitely won't send my children to the highschool, but since I'll own my home free and clear it won't be an issue to send them to private school. I have no problem with the elementary and middle school. My children are in pre-k now so I'm just going by word of mouth from neighbors. So, I could move to a better school district for the highschool, but then I'd be strapped with a mortgage until I'm 62!!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Sep 28, 2010
Amanda, I also live in the area, do you really think that once your house is paid off, you will be okay? I have a friend in Drexel hill that pays over $12,000 a year. What happens when the property taxes are $24,000 in 10 years. Then, we are just supposed to walk away from our homes? This is very unfair.
Flag Sun Apr 8, 2012
Not all of Delaware County has high property taxes. We moved to the Brookhaven part of Middletown Township and pay in the $2000's. Broomall is also in the $2000's. These are for single family 2-3 BR homes in great school districts purchased this year in the low-mid $200k range.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Nov 6, 2009
I lived in the Drexel Hill section for 15 years before just moving recently. My reasons included the decline of the school district, high/disportioned taxes and alarming increase in crime. All this adds up to a decline in home values and a bad image of the township.
The police chief Chitwood treats the east end like it was Phila 18th district.
I know and work with people who grow up in Upper Darby/Drexel Hill and they all say the same thing, things are not what they used to be.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Jul 16, 2009
Simple answer: The school district. We are returning to the area from VA and though about DH, until I did some research on the district. We have settled on either: a) Lower Merion (high costs/great schools), 2) DH and private school (I'm considering Monsignor Bonner for my son), or c) West Mt. Airy/Chestnut Hill and private school (beautiful homes, professional city dwelling families, and lower taxes.)

I'd look into Wallingford or Media. They both seem a bit inexpensive, and have a good school district. But...if you work in Philly, the commute will kill you.

Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue May 26, 2009
The homes are inexpensive because this area sucks. There are no jobs here. Don't move here unless you want to be poor as hell and never find a job.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 7, 2009
haha "no jobs here" ? Dude Philadelphia is 15 min away, Chester county is 15 min away and is the manufacturing hub of Pennsylvania. "no Jobs" riggghhhhttttt
Flag Thu Sep 19, 2013
Hello, Mrs powell.
Just look up the school dist and you will see why. No one wants to send thier kids to these schools.
it's south east delco and from the reviews it doesnt look that great. also see if you can find someone who lives nearby and ask them about the area. Thats what i did.
Take a look for yourself there are plenty of reviews Online of the local schools.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Apr 7, 2009
The school tax is very high in the Upper Darby School District. To give you an idea, my friend was selling her home for $185K and she was paying $5500 per year in property taxes.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Mar 7, 2009
Noelle,

Good question, as with anything in life if it seems to good to be true it often is. ALthough not sure which areas of Upper Darby you are looking as it is a large zip code/township and covers a diverse range of economic statuses. Also, certain areas of Upper Darby have a much higher crime rate than others (which can be substanitiated by data) and suffer from more urban blight, hence the lower prices in those areas. Also factored in are a large number of foreclosures and bank owned propreties even the areas where pride of ownership is high and homeownership is at higher rates given the nature of the economy now. On the flip side of finding a home in a neighborhood that is satisfactory to you despite being a great deal under market than it's neighboring comparable sales, the taxes in Upper Darby are largely very high to its neighboring municipalities. I lived in Upper Darby for sometime and am very familiar. If you need school, and more detailed prosepctive property information in order to best evaluate your options and make an educated decision, let me know. I would be happy to guide you.
Web Reference: http://www.Jozhomes.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Mar 2, 2009
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