Center City Philadelphia is one of the nicest areas you will find in any major American city. It is occupied by about 150,000 people surrounded by the world-renowned Philadelphia Orchestra, Art Museums, outstanding restaurants, theaters, and fabulous shopping. Excellent public transportation makes for a very quick commute by subway or bus. Center City real estate and the cost of living is more on the expensive side since it is such a desirable area. But despite Philadelphia being the fifth largest metropolitan city in the U.S. by population, and more expensive than some places (i.e. Houston or Cincinnati), it is less expensive than places like New York City or Boston.
Many consider Center City Philadelphia to be one of the hidden jewels of affordable downtown areas to live on the East Coast. It is so close to New York City, many NYC transplants buy real estate in the area since the commute is just 90 minutes to Manhattan. On the other hand, it is becoming increasingly recognized and appreciated for its merits, so it is a good place to buy and still very underpriced for a downtown major city. Philadelphia and the surrounding Main Line suburbs was not nearly as hard hit as other markets in the housing crisis. The windfall about Center City is that there is hardly any new space to build, so scarcity will always drive the prices. Many baby boomers are moving back downtown now that the city is hot again and their kids have left home, and single professionals continue to live here for the convenience and high-end amenities, so it is truly a smart place to buy .