Investing in Darby, PA

2 Replies | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

I'd love to hear various investors' opinions on Darby. Many investors I know refuse to buy anything in Darby. Common issues making this town a no-go zone for both seasoned and new investors alike are high taxes, safety in the area and lack of longer term appreciation outlook.

That being said, other investors I work with love to buy in this area thanks to the lower acquisition costs, decently higher rents/cashflow and opportunity for guaranteed income thanks to Delco's relatively simple Section 8 program (simple in contrast to Philadelphia county where a S8 license is required). Many investors I work with have had plenty of success with the properties they have bought here in raising rents and dealing with minor maintenance issues left behind by the previous owner.

Additionally I've noticed the values in Darby keep rising as some investors are not afraid to flip houses in this area for quick profits with less work needed in rehab. I've seen a few unbelievable comps selling in the 170s, 180s and even as high as $225k! I've heard the (somewhat) tounge-in-cheek expression thrown around that "Darby is the new Point Breeze".

What are your thoughts on investing in Darby? Do you currently own any rentals in Darby, and how have they performed for you since closing? Do you write this zipcode off as a no-go zone, and if so, why? Would you ever consider flipping here? Is Darby the next Point Breeze?

One thing I am sure you know @Alex Uman but many others don't is that "Darby" mailing addresses actually cover two different boroughs. Most of my portfolio is in Collingdale Borough, which is a Darby mailing address. I love Collingdale, the borough is mostly friendly, police have their priorities straight, and do a great job of keeping the area safe. The other borough is Darby Borough, and I have not had a good experience there. Lot's of drug problems, the borough is difficult, and overall not great outlook. 

You make some great points about Section 8 and other benefits of the area. It has been a while since I looked at a Darby Borough property, but I think my feeling is still the same. I don't think it is the next Point Breeze. It has a lot of work to do to turn around before it can start looking like Point Breeze, and I don't think the Philly Exodus is going to help that any. 

@Rich O'Neill Thanks for the insight. A few investors have bought a couple Collingdale properties from me for those very reasons you mentioned. Overall a more favorable borough to invest in. I believe the zipcode also covers Colwyn borough as well. Sold three rentals there but I believe it has similar issues as Darby borough. I agree that it will likely take plenty of time to ever reach Point Breeze values though I am surprised by all of the flipping activity there as of late.

All the best!