What a $500,000 house budget buys in Philadelphia, the Main Line and the Jersey Shore (PHOTOS)

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of stories looking at how far money will go when purchasing a home in Philadelphia, its suburbs and at the Jersey Shore.

Before the housing market went on a hot streak, $500,000 could go a long way for a buyer. But with home prices in pockets of Greater Philadelphia continuing to tick up, many are unsure what falls within that price range.

In the past, $500,000 could mean a spacious new home, but today that’s not necessarily the case. In September, the average sale price of houses on the Main Line was more than $830,000, according to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach’s HomExpert Market Report, a more than 16% increase over the previous year.In Cape May County, the price was about $989,000, up 27% year over year. Prices were on the rise in Philadelphia proper as well, up 4.5% to just over $323,000. In three ZIP codes, the average price exceeded the $500,000 mark: 19118 which spans Chestnut Hill; 19106, which encompassed Old City; and 19147, which spans from Tasker Street to the South to Pine Street to the north and includes Queen Village, Society Hill and Washington Square West.

As housing prices have skyrocketed over the past three years, $500,000 is now below the average selling price in some of the region’s wealthier pockets. As such, it’s made the $500,000 bracket for many buyers an ever-moving target. Still, there are options.

Here’s what a roughly $500,000 budget will currently afford buyers in Philadelphia, on the Main Line and at the Jersey Shore:

The living room and kitchen in the home.

634 N. 5th St. #9, Philadelphia

Price: $495,000

Square feet: 2,332

Bedrooms: 3

Bathrooms: 3

Price per square foot: $212

Situated on the corner of Fairmount Avenue and North 5th Street in the middle of a booming Northern Liberties, this townhome is in a prime location with easy access to both shops and restaurants, including in neighboring Fishtown and Old City. Listed at $495,000, the home has three bedrooms, three bathrooms and spans 2,332 square feet. Built in 2017, it has hardwood floors throughout and the kitchen features quartz countertops and an open layout across its main floor. On the upper floors, sliding doors open up to the outside and there’s also a rooftop deck, which has views of the Center City skyline. Located at the epicenter of an influx of new construction, property values in the area are sure to climb. The home is listed by Jim Onesti of the Mike McCann Team & Keller Williams Philly.

The Ardmore home at 333 E. Countyline Rd.

333 E. County Line Road, Ardmore

Price: $499,000

Square feet: 1,626

Bedrooms: 4

Bathrooms: 2

Price per square foot: $307

It’s rare that a home on one of the Main Line’s most sought-after neighborhoods lists at an attainable price for a substantial portion of the buyer pool. This brick Ardmore home was built in 1900, according to property records, but has a newly-renovated kitchen and bathrooms with hardwood laminate floors, quartz countertops and marble tiling to bring it into the 21st century. Spanning three stories, it has four bedrooms and two bathrooms. Listing agent Aimee Alexander of Compass Real Estate said it’s an ideal fit for first-time homebuyers or young couples with a growing family. The home sits on about three-quarters of an acre and is about six blocks from downtown Ardmore.

A view of the front back patio and the outdoor tub and shower space.

915 N. Shore Drive, Brigantine

Price: $507,500

Square feet: 960

Bedrooms: 4

Bathrooms: 1

Price per square foot: $528

On the Jersey Shore, finding a home under $1 million can be like finding lost treasure in the sand. There are even fewer options for a $500,000 budget, but this Brigantine home on a golf course fits the bill. With views of the bay, the teal-colored cottage backs up to the fairway on hole 17 of the Brigantine Golf Links. The 960-square-foot home has four bedrooms and one bathroom, plus a sunroom. Ample outdoor space includes a backyard with a patio and an outdoor shower and bathtub space. Listing agent Margaret Steadman of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach said that it’s a “house for someone who loves the old Jersey Shore.” She added that this particular property has a high land value and a new construction home on the site could have bay views.


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