Sunday, May 20, 2007

Wilmington, the "Seventh Borough"?

We know that Philadelphia, with its urban amenities (and challenges) and relatively inexpensive housing, has been dubbed the Sixth Borough, but that was a couple of years ago, and real estate prices keep rising.

So I wasn't completely surprised when I saw a real estate flyer in Tillie's, the Fort Greene coffeehouse, from a real estate agent proposing Wilmington, Delaware as "the place for affordable housing." A three-bedroom house costs under $250,000, property taxes are low, and there's state assistance for solar energy.

And, said the flyer, you can commute to New York, via Amtrak's Acela, in 1.5 hours each way.

Whoa. Round-trip fare via Acela is $250 a day, so that doesn't seem like a prudent option. Nor does Wilmington have Philadelphia's decent but hardly stellar public transit system. If you move to Wilmington for affordable housing, a job nearby and a car seem to be prerequisites.

Still, it's a sign of the times that Brooklynites are being pitched affordable housing three states away.