Philadelphia is filling up! Thousands of people are moving to the Philadelphia metro area, drawn in by its safe streets, family-friendly attractions, and terrific schools. However, the Philadelphia cost of living can be quite high.
The cost of living index for the Philadelphia PA metro area is 109.8; items in the area cost 9.8% more than the national average. The index for groceries is 117.2, while the index for housing is 110.6. A 2023 Commonwealth Foundation survey found that 42% of Pennsylvania residents are thinking about moving out of state or know someone who has moved out. The number one reason given was the high cost of living in Pennsylvania.
But you don’t have to go far to find a low cost of living. The key is to look at the most affordable Philadelphia suburbs and find a community with affordable houses for sale, attractions, and restaurants. Here are the eight best Philadelphia suburbs for a low cost of living.
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Jenkintown PA | One of the Best Suburbs of Philadelphia for Family-Family Affordable Apartments
- Population: 4,420
- Distance to Philadelphia: 10.4 miles
- Median household income: $120,172
- Median home price: $430,000
- Median rent: $1,758
- Crime rate: 1,801 offenses per 100,000 people (23.2% lower than the national average)
Jenkintown is one of the best Philadelphia suburbs, and not just for its low cost of living. It is located on Route 611, so commuters can drive directly to Philadelphia for work. Jenkintown, PA has one of the lowest crime rates of Philadelphia suburbs, with extremely low violent crime rates.
The cost of living is affordable whether you’re buying a house or renting. Jenkintown apartments and condos tend to be family-friendly, with two or more bedrooms covering more than 1,000 square feet. You can also find plenty of studio and one-bedroom apartments in Jenkintown PA for less than $1,200 a month, making Jenkintown a perfect community for young professionals and singles.
Jenkintown homes for sale are also spacious and kid-friendly. They cover 1,500 square feet, contain three or more bedrooms, and have luxurious features like covered front porches, two-car garages, and stainless steel appliances. The median cost per square foot for homes for sale Jenkintown PA is $233, which is below the national average. However, the median sale price for homes for sale in Jenkintown PA has increased by 50.7% over the last year, so you should purchase a home as soon as possible.
Jenkintown restaurants and attractions tend to be affordable. You can buy lunch at restaurants like Fill A Bagel for less than $10. The borough is adjacent to or contains numerous free points of interest, including Cedar Street Moretti Park and 7th Dimension Games.
Linwood PA | One of the Most Affordable Philadelphia Suburbs for Homebuyers
- Population: 3,473
- Distance to Philadelphia: 19.8 miles
- Median household income: $62,656
- Median home price: $120,000
- Median rent: $1,694
- Crime rate: 1,330 crimes per 100,000 people (43.3% lower than the national average)
Linwood is the most affordable Philadelphia suburb for buying a home. The median sale price has fallen by 7.7% year over year. The median price per square foot is $86, which is down by 52.2% over the last year. Homes for sale in Linwood PA are smaller than in other Philadelphia suburbs, but Lindwood homes have two or three bedrooms and cover around 1,000 square feet, which is enough space for a couple or small family.
Linwood apartments are also very affordable. You can find one-bedroom apartments covering 800 square feet for $1,000 a month. Linwood has fewer apartments than homes; 59% of properties in Linwood are owner-occupied, while 41% are renter-occupied. However, you can find pet-friendly and furnished Linwood apartments with additional features like new cabinets and eco-friendly appliances.
Linwood PA is a small community covering 0.6 square miles, so it has fewer attractions and stores than most affordable Philly suburbs. You can buy groceries and household items from a Family Dollar and a Wawa in the center of the community. Notable affordable attractions in Linwood include Gaspari Park, which contains a dog-friendly walking trail and a play structure for children.
Chester PA | Most Renter-Friendly Philadelphia Suburb
- Population: 32,618
- Distance to Philadelphia: 15.4 miles
- Median household income: $35,751
- Median home price: $125,000
- Median rent: $1,187
- Crime rate: 4,389 offenses per 100,000 people (87.1% higher than the national average)
Chester is one of the best suburbs of Philadelphia for real estate. You can find dozens of houses for sale in Chester PA in a variety of styles and with numerous features. The median cost of houses for sale in Chester per square foot is $96, so even large homes are affordable. You can purchase a single-family Cape Cod style home with three bedrooms and 2,650 square feet of space for less than $540,000. If you prefer a more traditional property, you can purchase a Dutch colonial home with three bedrooms and 2,000 square feet for $155,000.
Chester is one of the most renter-friendly affordable suburbs of Philadelphia, with 63% of housing units being renter-occupied. You can rent homes, townhomes, and Chester apartments in the community, with townhomes being the most popular type of housing in the city. You can buy a three or four-bedroom townhouse covering more than 1,000 square feet for less than $100,000. Most townhouses were built in the early 1900s, adding a classy aesthetic you can’t find in the cheapest places to live near Philadelphia.
Chester is located close to the Pennsylvania-New Jersey border, so people commuting to New Jersey can enjoy living in Chester. The city has several parks you can visit for free, including Chester Park and Deshong Park. The city is also home to various affordable restaurants, such as Humdiggidy’s, which offers $4 cheeseburgers and $8 quesadillas. Widener University is in Chester; US News ranks Widener in the top 100 best value schools in the country. Many apartments and townhouses in Chester are open to students.
Upland PA | Best Philly Suburb for Seniors
- Population: 3,068
- Distance to Philadelphia: 16.3 miles
- Median household income: $53,649
- Median home price: $185,000
- Median rent: $1,455
- Crime rate: 1,344 offenses per 100,000 people (42.7% lower than the national average)
Upland is just north of Chester, making it a good alternative for people who want to get away from the hubbub of a big city. The Upland real estate market is smaller than Chester’s, but you still have plenty of options for townhouses and single-family homes. Many Upland homes for sale are colonial-style properties with multiple stories and simple layouts you can customize any way you want. Two-bedroom townhouses and apartments for rent Upland covering 800 square feet are available for $115,000.
Upland Park is the top attraction in Upland PA, covering more than 60 acres and containing kid-friendly walking trails, playgrounds, and softball fields. The Redwood Community Center is inside Upland Park and is home to free classes and programs for seniors. Upland PA is a senior-friendly community, with almost 20% of residents being 65 years of age or older.
Phoenixville PA | Best Philly Suburb for Low-Income Housing
- Population: 18,610
- Distance to Philadelphia: 28.0 miles
- Median household income: $86,747
- Median home price: $430,000
- Median rent: $1,855
- Crime rate: 1,317 offenses per 100,000 people (43.9% lower than the national average)
TravelMag named Phoenixville one of the most charming towns in Pennsylvania in 2021. Phoenixville was a former factory town, but it has undergone a dramatic vitalization in the last ten years, gaining microbreweries, attractions, and real estate and becoming one of the best Philadelphia suburbs for families. Popular places to visit in Phoenixville PA include Sedona Taphouse, a modern American restaurant that serves a range of beers and wines.
Petra Community Housing and other nonprofit organizations have led affordable housing projects in Phoenixville in recent years. Don Coppedge Village (also known as Fairview Village) offers apartments for low-income people, including four-bedroom apartments for families. Flag House is reserved for low-income seniors, while Freedom House is available for adults with disabilities.
If you don’t qualify for Petra’s affordable housing, you can still find an affordable place to live in Phoenixville, PA. Homes for sale in Phoenixville PA include large 2,400-square foot properties with four bedrooms. If you prefer living in Phoenixville apartments, you can live in Westridge Gardens, which is a luxury complex with one, two, and three-bedroom residences. Units have fireplaces, patios, and plush carpets with open floor plans, yet most apartments cost less than $2,500 a month, making Phoenixville one of the most luxurious and cheapest places to live near Philadelphia.
Drexel Hill PA | Owner-Friendly and Commuter-Friendly Philadelphia Suburb With Great Attractions
- Population: 29,181
- Distance to Philadelphia: 7.5 miles
- Median household income: $76,403
- Median home price: $315,500
- Median rent: $1,362
- Crime rate: 1,978 offenses per 100,000 people (15.7% lower than the national average)
Drexel Hill borders Philadelphia, making it a terrific choice for commuters into the city. You can take US Route 1 into the city, but residents also have access to SEPTA trolley and bus routes, which can take you to various cities near Philadelphia.
Drexel Hill PA is an owner-friendly community, with 68% of housing being single-unit properties and 65% being owner-occupied. You can find many single-family homes for sale in Drexel Hill PA throughout the community; the median sales price per square foot is $169, so large houses for sale in Drexel Hill PA are still affordable. Most homes have at least four bedrooms and cover over 1,500 square feet, yet they cost less than $400,000. You can also purchase a townhouse with three bedrooms for less than $250,000. Studio Drexel Hill apartments can cost less than $1,000 a month.
You have many options for affordable groceries and meals in Drexel Hill PA, including two Wawa convenience stores and a ShopRite. Drexel Hill is a hub for historic homes, most of which you can visit for free. The Lower Swedish Cabin is a Swedish-style log cabin that was a popular filming site for silent movies. You can get free tours of the cabin on Sundays between April and October.
Glenolden PA | Family-Friendly Townhouses for Sale and Apartments for Rent
- Population: 7,223
- Distance to Philadelphia: 11.0 miles
- Median household income: $62,438
- Median home price: $249,930
- Median rent: $1,339
- Crime rate: 2,206 offenses per 100,000 people (6.0% lower than the national average)
Glenolden PA is a borough southwest of Philadelphia. U.S. Route 13 runs through the center of the community, providing access to Philadelphia, New Jersey, and other affordable Philly suburbs. Glenolden Station is a SEPTA station with access to Philadelphia, Newark, and Wilmington DE. While Glenolden PA has fewer attractions than other Philly suburbs, you can still enjoy meals at restaurants like The Fainting Goat Bar and Restaurant at low prices.
Glenolden PA is 76% owner-occupied, and most properties for sale are townhouses. Many townhouses accommodate families, with over 1,500 square feet of space and three bedrooms. The average price per square foot of houses for sale in Glenolden PA is $163, down by 7.1% over the last year. While Glenolden PA has fewer options for renters than other Philadelphia suburbs, you can find one and two bedroom Glenolden apartments for less than $1,400 a month. Glen Manor Apartments offers studio apartments for $900 a month, and all residents have access to on-site fitness centers, laundry facilities, and storage.
Collingdale PA | Quaint Philadelphia Suburb With Beautiful Green Spaces and Affordable Townhouses
- Population: 8,908
- Distance to Philadelphia: 7.7 miles
- Median household income: $45,565
- Median home price: $220,000
- Median rent: $1,088
- Crime rate: 3,798 offenses per 100,000 people (61.9% higher than the national average)
Collingdale PA has a quaint and rural aesthetic unique amongst Philadelphia suburbs. The community contains or is near large green spaces, including Eden Cemetery, the oldest Black-owned cemetery in America, and Mt Zion Memorial Cemetery. These green spaces provide shaded areas and quiet places to relax, and you can always visit them for free.
Collingdale is townhouse-heavy; many townhouses are close to commercial areas or are in mixed buildings, with residences on the second floor and commercial spaces on the first floor. Most houses for sale in Collingdale PA were built in the early 1900s, but their owners have renovated them and added stainless steel appliances and new flooring. If you prefer renting an apartment, you have a few options for Collingdale PA apartments for rent in the southern tip of Collingdale. These apartments have three bedrooms, cover more than 1,000 square feet, and cost less than $2,000 a month, making them good for couples and families.
Affordable Philadelphia Suburbs Map
You can use this map to find the most affordable suburbs of Philadelphia!
Philadelphia may be a little pricey, but you can find plenty of wonderful places to live in affordable Philadelphia suburbs. Young professionals and entrepreneurs will love Chester and Glenholden, families will love Jenkintown and Phoenixville, and seniors will love Upland.
Living in Philadelphia suburbs can transform your life, but you must figure out the moving process first. Suburban Solutions has a team of the top movers in Philadelphia. Get a free moving quote by calling 610-314-6868.