My husband and I are agents at Coldwell Banker Preferred in Old City and live in Fishtown. This area is a good bet for appreciation for so many reasons...there are tons of new businesses and restaurants, galleries and shops that have opened up in Fishtown recently, it is close to the major highways and public transportation is easy, sales have spiked here within the last few years, but the best news is that prices have not skyrocketed. You can definitely find a home in Fishtown within your range. (It may be a little closer to top, unless you are willing to do some work).
If you are of the investor mentality for the long-term, the house you buy in Fishtown may also be a good rental when you decide to move.
Contact me for listings in Fishtown, I have some great ones.
Coldwell Banker Preferred
223-225 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19125