Chinatown vs. Northern Liberties

3 Replies | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Hi Investors, I’m looking to buy my second investment property. My first was a condo in Westchester, NY. I’m currently renting in Old City in Philadelphia but I’d like to buy something and live in it for 1-2 years before renting it out. I don’t mind hiring a contractor to do some renovations but not a total rehab flip job - I’ve never done it and I’m just not ready yet. I’ve been looking at properties for a couple of years now and have unfortunately lost out on a few great real estate deals in Olde Kensington, Fishtown, Passyunk, and Point Breeze due to bidding wars, waiting too long on some multi-families, etc. I keep wavering between buying a multifamily or a single family home/condo. House hacking typically in a more up and coming area or single family in a nicer more established safer neighborhood. Higher return, higher risk, lower quality of life vs. lower return, lower risk, higher quality of life. Currently I’m leaning towards the lower return lower risk, higher quality of life option. I’m deciding between buying a newer 750 sq ft condo in Chinatown or an older 1400 sq ft condo in Northern Liberties. Chinatown/Market East has Reading Terminal, the fashion outlets opening soon, and the beginning of Rail Park which I believe should increase home values. While Northern Liberties/Fishtown has a lot of entertainment like the Fillmore, Punch Line, Goose Island brewery, Frankford Hall, etc. which has increased home values and I’m sure has some appreciation left to grow. Which neighborhood do you think will appreciate more? Any advice or recommendations? Thanks in advance!

Hey Eric,

If you want this to be a long term rental, I would recommend you focus your search more on the long term rentability of the space than on which neighborhood will appreciate more. You may likely find that your two options for purchase in Chinatown/Northern Liberties cost about the same, but a two bedroom apartment could rent for 150-300 more per month than a one bedroom in 2 years when you move out. I usually use Zillow for finding the average going rates for rent in an area, but any real estate agent could also help get you the figures.

Good luck!


Hey Eric,

I would love to talk with you more about this and send you some examples of deals that fit what you are looking for in these two areas. I also would love to help you get a plan together moving forward so you don't miss out on another deal