Is it a good idea to buy a house in Chester PA (E.22nd st)? Will it be better in 5 years?

Asked by Irina, 19063 Thu Jul 3, 2008

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Rich Schiffer, , 19081
Mon Aug 11, 2008
Chester, despite some of the comments made prior to mine, is certainly worth a look. 22nd Street, especially, is in one of what is considered one of the more desirable areas (1st ward).

There are many redevelopment projects happening that will influence the future of property values in the Chester market:

Crossroads at Widener: a new hotel and retail center across from Widener University is underway.
Chester Towers: demolished, 4 new mid-rise buildings to replace the former hi-rise eyesores.
Waterfront Redevelopment: Professional Soccer stadium, new homes, and commercial areas
Movie Studio: Pacifica Ventures is building a hollywood-style movie production facility in Chester Township (which is likely to bring an estimated 2000 new jobs to the region)
Harrahs Casino: Brings an estimated 15,000 visitors DAILY to the city.

Perhaps the best news is the Chester Community Grocery Co-op. A coalition of families in the area have come together to provide a full service grocery to the city (which has not had a grocery store in over 15years.) (see the web reference below for more details)

The momentum for Chester is forward-moving. Property values have continued to increase. Companies that have moved to Chester are succeeding. Despite the negative reports, Chester is not all drug dens and gun violence. I am not spouting a "positive spin." I live nearby, and frequently attend worship in Chester. I regularly take my twin 5-yr old boys to play in Chester Park. I shop regularly in Chester, and attend a Christian Businessman's Breakfast weekly in Chester. Some of the finest people I know live or work in Chester.

The school district is getting an overhaul, and the charter schools are doing well. (The new Chester School for the Arts is opening this year.)

Don't let the nay-sayers make your decision for you. Learn about the area, weigh the good and the bad, and decide for yourself.

If you ask people about investments, they will tell you to "buy low, sell high." Right now, Chester property values are about the lowest in the County, and are climbing. I expect (though I cannot predict, of course) that because of all the money flowing into Chester, there will be considerable upward movement in the marketplace, and there could likely be a substantial appreciation on Chester properties in the following years.
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4 votes
tmclaughlin9, Renter, Philadelphia, PA
Tue Jun 18, 2013
Chester isn't a great place to buy a home or live, i'm saying this because I live here and not only I stay right down the street from where your trying to purchase, and I will not lie to you.... DON'T DO IT.. investment wise it's stupid to do so even 5 YEARS LATER.. If your only purchasing for tenant purposes then if the value is low now (which it is) compared to surrounding cities, then the old saying "you get what you pay for " will play a big part, school wise nearly most of the elementary schools are closed, the main High School is closed and will turned into a pre-K-12th grade school... which is stupid the political decisions that have been made in this city is no longer about community it is all about currency. Which in my case be it you move for investment or personal living purchasing a home in Chester is not a good idea. That area is not a good area, shoot outs and teen fights are darn near everyday, robberies and drug dealing is like right at your door step, and the only people that will rent are those within that life style or are familiar with it.... some parts of Chester is literally a gold mine but... there is still no way of getting away from shoot outs and nonsense, this city is literally 4 miles long and has been shorten every year, this city used to be a wonderful place to live but now it is like a war zone. People are in their own homes getting killed by stray bullets so far this year we have had about two deaths caused by stray bullets and about 10 deaths with 25 injured from gunshot wounds ... This is a cramped city with a lot of people who feel they are above the law and about 60 unsolved murders.. its not safe to even have a bbq in your own backyard without hearing gun fire, I'm not downing my city but I am going to tell you the truth... and sometimes the truth is way better then a lie, if you have the funds to move or buy, buy elsewhere cause even after 5 YEARS it is way worse. And last year literally 4 people was killed every month, it's crime everywhere you go, but because this city is very little and you could literally walk from one end of this city to another, that's what makes it so bad.
1 vote
shelley.ashf…, Home Buyer, Chester, PA
Sat May 25, 2013
Interesting to answer the question "Will it be better in 5 years?" asked in 2008, now that nearly 5 years have passed. Is it better? No, home prices have not gone up very much. No, I'm not younger and prettier now. But Chester is a better place to live because after I purchased my home, I made a decision to take care of the property, get to know my neighbors, and participate as fully as possible in the spiritual and civic life of this community.
1 vote
shelley.ashf…, Home Buyer, Chester, PA
Wed Oct 10, 2012
I just bought a property in Sun Village in Chester. Although there are far too many houses currently boarded up, the street is quiet, the neighbors are friendly, and I've had no problems whatsoever.
The house is sound, and when it is fully rehabbed, will be beautiful.
I can proudly call myself part of the solution: I am a responsible homeowner that bags my trash properly, mows regularly, and keeps my storm drain clear of debris. I am repairing and reversing the damage that long-term rental properties and vacant properties suffer.
Property values will be far lower than they should be until a tipping point is reached, when there are a few more people of good will do what I do.
1 vote
Lisa, Home Owner, Chester, PA
Tue Jun 5, 2012
I bought a house in what I thought was Parkside 17 years ago. It turned out my parking lot was Parkside, but my mailbox was Chester - hence the tax bill! I was in my early 30's and had 3 apartments to rent out while I lived in the fourth. Being from Wallingford, I was embarrassed to tell people I lived in Chester, as I felt like a "loser" to say that. That being said, it is now 2012, I'm still here and I live in the First Ward. In all the years I've been here, the only person that ever stole from me, was a former tenant. In all the years, the only violence on my door step, was a tenant. In all the years, the only person that ever vandalized my car, was a booted out tenant. So, I would say that if you're going to rent to anyone, don't go by your "great instincts" but do the work and pay the money for a good tenant. (I have had a few that were just fabulous and hated to see them go). As for shopping, etc., just go towards Brookhaven, Media, etc....Yes, there is terrible violence in Chester, but as long as you are not out buying drugs from these people, you should be safe. The school district is horrible, though, so if you have kids, don't move here. The taxes are high for me, since I have a large property and tenants, and I think I'm paying for everyone that doesn't pay, but my neighbor's bill is 1/2 of mine, so depends on property. The Chester Park is one of the most beautiful around here and they have great tennis courts and trails or just beautiful hills to sit on and it's rarely packed, except for Fourth of July, which is really fun and great fireworks. The city has been pretty responsive if a street light is out, or heavy pick up is needed. As far as, walking at night, well, maybe not in the last two years, but I was never afraid might be an age thing - I'm now 51..Half the time I forget to even lock my doors, but then again, I have a dog...I just recently changed my license, insurance and ID to say, Chester, PA...I am not ashamed to be here - I have a Bachelor's Degree, have been at same job for 26 years, from an affluent family and I'm white.....not that that makes a difference to me but if it does to you, there are a lot of decent black, white, and all sorts who make up "Chester" who are hard working and will find that in every city across the US, as well as "bad parts"....In fact, I recently looked at a house in Upper Darby and thought, I'm going back to my home in Chester....I felt safer....I just saw this was from 2008...well, this is 2012, in case any one else is interested.....
1 vote
Hi Lisa, sounds like you're one of the Good Guys: a landlord living in the area, not so far away and overextended that you do not manage the property properly. Thanks for presenting a nuanced picture.
Flag Wed Oct 10, 2012
X Resident, , Wilmington, DE
Thu Mar 18, 2010
The area has been in a depressive slide since late '60's. Taxes astronomical, city services nil and forget the
schools. Economic boosts- trash disposal plant and Harrah's- gambling has traditionally not increased property values save property bought by actual casino. Atlantic City is a perfect example. Gambling brought more crime and prostitution, as if Chester has not had all that for decades now. You know the area is high crime when the casino itself does not bring you through Chester (when coming from S95) instead takes you miles past and brings you through Ridley exit. Chester high had armed guards at the door since 1970! The only positive
responses to this city are from actual agents, who will make money from sale. Your insurance, car & home will be high, and good luck walking after dark no matter Who you are. I think someone thinking of buying there and are not from area should know the TRUTH!
1 vote
There is no problem with the truth if you are going to tell the TRUTH!!!
Flag Wed Mar 26, 2014
____________…, Home Buyer, Texas
Tue Jul 29, 2008
Chester is a rough area. Spend some time in the area where you are looking at get a fell for yourself.
1 vote
Karen and Je…, Agent, Wayne, PA
Sat Jul 19, 2008
Buying a house is always a good idea. Where to buy your house depends on many factors such as proximity to work, the local schools and what type of housing you are looking for. Is it a primary residence or an investment property that you are looking for? This sometimes makes a difference. Whatever you decide, make sure that you contact a Realtor who specializes in that area of Delaware County.
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1 vote
John, , Smithzie
Fri Jul 11, 2008
Chester - only if you like gambling with your money and your life. You will quickly loose your designations of "pro". High risk should = high reward ... not to be found there. It's way off the map of location location location. Would you or anyone you know or even want to assiciate with every want to live or do business there? It's the dead zone.
1 vote, , Brookhaven, PA
Tue Mar 10, 2015
I lived in the 1st Ward all my life and I am 39yrs old with 3kids. My neighborhood is quiet and if you are not out looking for trouble or drugs then you should be fine. The only thing is the High school is not so great they need more than one. The elementary schools(Chester charter) is great. If you have kids that are going into high school you may want to send them to a Private or Catholic school. Other than that, who shops in the small towns anyway?" Where there's a mall there's a way" Springfield, Granite Run, even Concord Mall are only a short distance away. Public transportation is readily avail. There are things to do in the city of Chester and since I've become a stay at home mom for the last 3years I have found some good activities in this city, plenty of activities for kids to join, they even have soccer and tennis now.
0 votes
D. Derderian, Agent, West Chester, PA
Sun Aug 3, 2008
Better then what? Does the home bide well for what you will be using it for.
0 votes
Jacqueline R…, Agent, Bear, DE
Fri Jul 11, 2008
We as realtors cannot steer you to or away from a location. You need to make decisions on what you purchase based on facts, not opinion. Contact a local realtor to find out resale values, market trends, etc. Contact the local government agencies to find out what future plans are for the city if you are concerned about development, etc.
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0 votes
Lee Stiber S…, Agent,
Fri Jul 4, 2008
Hello Irina.
Please feel free to contact me so we can discuss this in detail. Unfort. we as agents dont have a crystal ball as much as I would love to. Your situation depends on a few factors which we can discuss.
Have a great holiday
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0 votes
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