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Realtor Nicole Ritchie describes the borough of Ridley Park as "a cluster of residential, commercial and industrial" parcels. Add proximity to Interstate 95 and a stop on SEPTA's Wilmington/Newark Line, and the picture is complete.
Well, not quite. If you've ever shared an office with someone who grew up there and graduated from Cardinal O'Hara, about nine miles away, you may know lots of things about Ridley Park that aren't listed in the guidebooks. This article by Inquirer Real Estate Columnist Alan J. Heavens is why he calls Ridley Park a homey enclave
Ridley Park is, unashamedly, a blue-collar, tight-knit, family-oriented community filled with a variety of houses - singles, mainly, with a few smallish twins and rows - from 40 to 140 years old.
Several generations of families live on the same street or within a block or two of one another, says Ritchie, an agent with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach Realtors in Media.
It is also home to a historic district filled with Victorian-era homes built by Philadelphians as summer retreats.
The Wilmington/Newark line was originally the Philadelphia, Wilmington & Baltimore Railroad, whose president, Isaac Hinckley, hired Boston landscape architect Robert Morris Copeland to design Ridley Park.
Barbara M. Mastronardo, an agent with Weichert Realtors in Media, spent her first 10 years in Ridley Park, recalling the days when she and her friends would ride their bikes to Costa's Pharmacy for ice cream sodas.
"I grew up on Tasker Street and learned to ice skate on Ridley Lake," Mastronardo says.
Lakeview Elementary School overlooks the lake.
The borough of 7,002 people is a "real enclave, a village, actually," she says.
"Residents call themselves 'Parkers,' to distinguish themselves from Ridley Township - the 'Ridleyites,' " she says.
The borough is distinguished by its mature oak trees, its "cute" downtown, and the Ridley Park train station, where it is often tough to find parking spaces but is an easy walk for commuters who live along Ridley Avenue, Mastronardo says.
There is another station, Crum Lynne, down the line but in the borough, although out of its zip code.
The housing market was brisk early in the year but slowed a bit in the summer months, Ritchie says.
In the last three months, she says, 52 houses have gone to settlement, with 65 active listings ranging from $69,900 to $389,900.
The median sale price, according to Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach Realtors HomExpert, is $345,000.
Ridley Park, Ridley Township and Eddystone make up the Ridley School District.
The median sale price for the township was $433,000 on 15 sales, while Eddystone's was $71,000 on 25 transactions in the second quarter of 2015.
Of the properties sold and sales pending - 125 in the last three months - 9 percent were bank-owned houses repossessed after foreclosure and 10 percent were estate sales, Ritchie says.
"Some of the houses in the estate sales were sold to another member of the family," she says.
Often, when a house comes on the market and doesn't go to a family member, a neighbor with a son or daughter in need of a first house typically is among the bidders.
Although there are conventional mortgages being used in greater numbers as credit has eased, "a lot of buyers are using FHA-insured loans because they require only 3.5 percent down," Ritchie says.
There are a lot of seller assists, she says, given that many of these houses require updating.
There is some new construction - "one here, another there," Mastronardo says, but houses in Ridley Park are older.
"Some of the houses are on double lots" - most are 50 feet by 100 feet, "narrow and deep," she says, and the larger Victorians are much less expensive than comparable houses in Swarthmore, for example.
Employment "supports the housing market," Mastronardo says, with Boeing providing a lion's share of the jobs.
"When I was growing up, this was Leave It to Beaver-ville," she says.
Today, "it is a lot more congested because there's more traffic," she says.
This article by Inquirer Real Estate Columnist Alan J. Heavens
Town By Town: Ridley Park By the Numbers
Population: 7, 002 (2010)
Median household income: $58,217 (2013)
Area: 1.1 square miles
Settlements in the last three months: 52
Homes for sale: 65
Average days on market: 112
Median sale price: $345,000
Housing stock: 3,167 units, singles, twins and a few rows; Victorian historic district
School district: Ridley
Sources: U.S. Census Bureau; Nicole Ritchie, Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach Realtors
Read more at philly.com/philly/business/real_estate/town-by-town