If you are considering different neighborhoods or areas for your potential investment, you want to consider the community amenities to determine which might be preferential to others. You would also want to look at what is called "pride of ownership" - how the people that live in the area maintain their homes and the common areas. Usually properties that are close to or convenient to things like shopping, transportation, community services (playgrounds, museums, etc) in areas that are well maintained with low crime rates will bring the highest potential rentals.
Appreciation is a completely different issue, though it is impacted by the all of these considerations as well. Since appreciation might be impacted by outside influences such as new developments and employment gains or losses, it is probably not the best thing to consider when buying. Luckily our marketplace is a pretty stable marketplace, and if you keep the basics in mind when buying, and the area and the home have solid (rather than speculative ) value, you'll probably make out very well.
In my opinion, all of Manayunk is pretty desirable. However, from a rental standpoint, I would suggest looking at properties close to the train and the Main Street bars. The higher you go up in the hills the less convenient those properties become. The top of the hills are beautiful and are great from an owner-occupant. If you are looking to rent to the 20/30 something crowd though, close to the nightlife and the train is, in my opinion, the better bet.
Thanks Maureeen for your suggestions too!
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