It has taken a long time for Allentown to find its groove again, but recent years have seen it blossom into a thriving mid-sized city that attracts visitors and homebuyers of all ages. Retirees are drawn to this area because of its abundant outdoor recreational space, big-city style attractions, and retirement-friendly taxes. It’s the third-largest city in Pennsylvania, and it sees the varying weather of all four seasons. And as for those taxes, all Social Security income and retirement account income (IRA, 401(k), etc.) are tax exempt. Pension income (ages 60 and over) is also exempt, and the state sales tax rate is one of the lowest in the country.
One of this region’s main attractions is the spectacular Lehigh Parkway, which has a fish hatchery, trails, and bridges. Allentown is also known far and wide for its yearly special events, like the Great Allentown Fair, art exhibits, 5K runs, and holiday festivities. There are also many popular landmarks just outside of the city, like Dorney Park and the Lehigh Valley Mall.
55places.com lists 23 active adult communities in the Allentown area, with some choices near downtown and others a little farther out. On the higher end, you can find upscale neighborhoods with properties in the mid-$500s, but there are plenty of homes for sale near Allentown that cost less. Here are several in the $250K range that you might be interested in.
The Vineyards – Pennsburg, PA
Milford Builders completed this gated 55+ neighborhood in 2007, creating 200 resale attached homes and some very appealing indoor and outdoor amenities. Its exclusive Vineyards Clubhouse has an exercise room, a sunroom, and a grand room for special events. The Vineyards also has its own chip-n-put golf course and putting green, plus two playgrounds on the grounds for your grandchildren.
There are four townhome models ranging from 1,761 to 2,130 square feet with one or two bedrooms, one-and-a-half to two baths, a den, and an attached garage. Options may include new appliances, cathedral ceilings, recessed lights, and gas fireplaces. The Vineyards also has a monthly homeowners’ association fee to cover certain community services.
Pennsburg is in Montgomery County, about 19 miles south of Allentown. Its population is under 4,000, and it has a charming small-town feel with the benefit of being close to the larger city. Nearby attractions include Macoby Run Golf Course and Green Lane Park and Reservoir.
Briarwood Commons – Whitehall, PA
Here’s an intimate active adult community for homebuyers looking for privacy and quality homes on a property that’s mere miles away from Allentown. Upon completion, Briarwood Commons will have 63 new and resale attached homes by builder Spectrum Homes.
There’s a private clubhouse for residents, and it features a catering kitchen and multi-purpose room, a covered deck, a computer room, and an exercise room. There are five floor plans offered, ranging from 1,382 to 2,650 square feet with one to three bedrooms, two to three baths, first-floor master suites with separate walk-in closets, and an attached two-car garage. Additional perks include cathedral ceilings, granite countertops, and stainless steel appliances.
Part of Lehigh County, the town of Whitehall boasts 30 parks including the Ironton Rail-Trail and Whitehall Parkway. Briarwood is also right off Route 145, where you can find a Weis Market, coffee shops, churches, banks, convenience stores, and restaurants.
Arbours at Hearthstone – Quakertown, PA
Erb & Mascio Builders broke ground on this small active adult community in 2008, and it will have 133 new and resale attached homes upon completion. Plans also call for a private clubhouse, which will have a modern fitness room, a catering kitchen, and activity areas. It’s minutes from Route 309, on a lovely property by a creek and walking trails.
The three attached floor plans are sized from 1,565 to 2,100 square feet with two to three bedrooms, one-and-a-half to two-and-a-half bathrooms, and an attached two-car garage. Desirable upgrades include custom wood work, eat-in kitchens, fireplaces, patios, and fencing. The community’s HOA fee provides for snow and trash removal as well as exterior and common area maintenance.
Quakertown is in Bucks County, about 15 miles outside of Allentown. The population hovers around 9,000, and it was originally settled by Quakers, or the Society of Friends. Local landmarks include Great Blue Heron Park and the busy Quaker Antique Mall; St. Luke’s Hospital also has a campus here.
The Village at Fox Crossing – Easton, PA
If you prefer a single-family home, The Village at Fox Crossing could have just what you’re looking for. This impressive 55+ neighborhood will have 135 new and resale single-family homes, a clubhouse, sports courts, and plenty of open space when completed by Ritz-Craft Homes. There are seven ranch-style floor plans, ranging from 1,100 to 1,831 square feet with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and an attached two-car garage. Features include oak kitchen cabinets, plush carpeting, and morning rooms. The reasonable HOA fee provides for snow removal, lawn care, and common area maintenance.
It’ll take you about 30 minutes to drive into Allentown from Easton, which is in Northampton County between the Delaware River and Bushkill Creek. Its popular downtown district is home to restaurants, historic sites, shops, and the State Theatre. Locals and tourists also enjoy spending time at the historic Northampton Street Bridge, the Crayola Factory Experience (take your grandkids!) and Lafayette College.