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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stevenitz, Home Owner, Upper Darby, PA
Mon Sep 29, 2014
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.
7 votes
still true
Flag Sun May 8, 2016
I totally agree....Upper Darby Twp is a hidden gem.
Flag Thu Mar 3, 2016
Marcus, Home Buyer, Upper Darby, PA
Thu Nov 5, 2009
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.

4 votes
Oh geez, another brainless union basher. Have you even bothered to look up the average salary of teachers in Upper Darby? Obviously you haven't, or you wouldn't say it's "huge." That, or you just don't know what the word huge means.
Flag Sun Mar 12, 2017
Allyson, , Philadelphia, PA
Tue Aug 7, 2012
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.
2 votes
I have lived on the same street as the "Garrett Road Drexel Hill trolley stand" since 2006. We have a fairly close community over here and I cannot recall ever hearing anything of your claim that "a man was BLUDGEONED TO DEATH IN THE SPRING OF 2014"
I just tried looking it up and cannot locate a story on it. Are you able to find an article to support this?
Flag Sat May 13, 2017
PS the man didn't die either.
Flag Tue Jun 30, 2015

You're overreacting a bit. It's people like you who scare people away by spreading fear. This town's fine except for the school and taxes. That's the only reason it's not a "great" neighborhood. The man that Issadele was referring to was a homeless man who was targeted by a group of kids. Sometimes incidents happen along the public transportation lines but hardley.
Flag Tue Jun 30, 2015
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
issadele, Home Owner, Upper Darby, PA
Sat Aug 30, 2014
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.
1 vote
Really, a drive-by shooting? Why do people bash such a nice place* I have not heard of a drive -by shooting in Philadelphia, let alone Upper Darby!
Flag Wed Jul 5, 2017
I agree. It's not a family friendly neighborhood at all. The taxes are extremely high if you buy a house and not school district is horrible and failing.
Flag Sat Mar 4, 2017
ItsToxic, Home Owner, Drexel Hill, PA
Mon May 27, 2013
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!
1 vote
i truly agree. trying to get out myself
Flag Wed Jul 20, 2016
Casmuirlong, Home Buyer, New York, NY
Wed Jul 5, 2017
Hello Mrs. Powell,
First let me say that there are parts of Upper Darby that are more like the city, for example, the Stonehurst area. Even though there are row homes and more diversity it is still much safer and cleaner than almost anywhere in philadelphia excluding Chestnut hill and the far northeast. Many of the people who make negative comments are upset because the area is becoming more diverse, about 50% white and 50% other* There is an assumption from some narrow minded people that more diverse means worse* This, I have not found to be the case. The Drexel Hill section of Upper Darby is very nice. About 75% White 25% other. The beautiful stone homes are well maintained and the neighbors are friendly. Some of my neighbors have been here for 40 years! As older people are passing away new families are moving in, upgrading the properties and starting a new generation of long time residents. Drexel hill needs people who are going to be here for a long time as the generations prior. If that is you then we want you and your family to keep this community beautiful* There are white families, an asian family, a mixed race couple and african american families who live on my street and one of my neighbors had a meet and greet for new families last fall* The elementary schools and Drexel Hill middle school are still good* the highschool may not be as good as it used to be, but I know several highschoolers that attend and have no problems there. They have a variety of AP classes and tennis, volleyball and other sports available. Yes, the taxes are higher, but, the lower home prices make up for that. The Stone homes have so much character and they just dont make homes of this quality anymore. You may have to add modern amenities, we added central air but if you love older homes you'll see the worth in it. One other person said that Upper Darby suffers from bad PR. I agree completely! I have not heard of a bit of crime since we've moved here going on 2 years. I love it! Come and drive through the Drexel hill area anytime and you will love it too. See for yourself* if you are looking for somewhere to put down roots it is a perfect inner ring suburban area. On Saturday mornings in the spring you will hear lawnmowers going and On Sunday afternoon, I hear nothing but birds chirping. In the evening people are walking their dogs. After about 8 pm it is as quiet as a mouse. Don't believe the negative reviews! Upper Darby is still ok and the Drexel Hill section of Upper Darby is great!
0 votes
Its ok not great bad stuff always happens and the kids growing up there thinking they are hood and constantly causing mayhem like egging moving cars breaking into cars and stealing and going up to people trying to knock them out like a video game. I would consider a more suburban area like Springfield or Yeadon
Flag Sun Jul 16, 2017
Amanda, , Drexel Hill, PA
Tue Sep 28, 2010
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
UD has their own police force, their own paid firefighters, and their own sanitation workers all to service 80k+ residents. We also have a hospital right in the middle of town.
A lot of other towns outsource or have a much smaller group of civil service workers that may not be able to serve their communities as well as ours.
Flag Sat May 13, 2017
is this area really bad? was considering moving here I already live in a not so great area dont wanna make the same mistake twicw
Flag Wed Jan 13, 2016
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
Elsa, Home Buyer, 08053
Fri Nov 6, 2009
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
J.s., , Wallingford, PA
Thu Jul 16, 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
K. H., Both Buyer And Seller, 19050
Tue May 26, 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
Loser, , Somerset, PA
Tue Apr 7, 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
Who the hell is moving here without having a job FIRST? You sir are an idiot.
Flag Fri Aug 7, 2015
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
Jay, Home Buyer, Philadelphia, PA
Tue Apr 7, 2009
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
Elsa, Home Buyer, 08053
Sat Mar 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
Josephine, , West Chester, PA
Mon Mar 2, 2009

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
I have lived in Drexel Hill in the Aronimink area for 3 years now. I have a beautiful home for which I paid $315, 000.00 for. It has 6 Bed rooms and four baths. There are three levels and a large fenced yard with a swimming spool and a wooden deck and a brick paver side deck as well.

Not bad for a black man who raised his family up out of West Philadelphia.
Flag Fri Jul 7, 2017
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