I do a ton of work in these area's and I can tell you I see so much going on and so much more to come. Currently I have a few listings in Port Richmond and one coming up in East Kensington, all completely renovated homes. Like some of the other agents stated, we can't see into the future and say which area will grow more than the other, but what I can say is about 10-12 years ago, no one ever thought Northern Liberties, or even Fishtown for that matter, would be as popular as they are today.
It is a great time to be in your position with buying your first home, interest rates are at their all time low, there are still som grant programs out there for 1st time home buyers (which I can tell you more about), and prices for the most part in some area's have hit bottom and areas are stabilizing. But the days of owning a home for a year or two and the reselling for a profit are over, so I would suggest owning your first home for 5+ years to give you the ability to gain more equity in the home as well as appriciation.
There are some great points that the other agents have made, so definately take into account the block, proximity to where you work, and how close or far you want to be to friends and family.
Please feel free to call me with any more questions you may have about the areas, or about the 1st time homebuyer program, or if you want to see the homes I currently have for sale there. I would be more than happy to help you buy your first home, I work with 1st time home buyers every day and truly enjoy helping some one buy their first home!
Julie Hankins, Realtor