Unlike the neighborhoods in and around Center City, the region's suburbs aren't in the throes of a building boom.
There are a lot of reasons for that, but the biggest are high land costs with a limited amount of buildable land or finished lots, a higher-priced home market, and a limited skilled-labor pool that has delayed homes being built in time as well as getting infrastructure in place.
That appraisal, by Quita Syhapanya of Metrostudy, is echoed by suburban builders and Realtors.
So when something new is added, everyone - from buyers, to builders, to real estate agents - takes notice.
In Lower Makefield, Bucks County, DeLuca Homes of Langhorne is putting together a community called Flowers Field that's a first for the veteran builder.
The development will have 48 townhouses, some twins, and a few single-family detached homes when it is completed, said Joanne Marricone, DeLuca's director of sales and marketing.
"In 27 years in the business, I've never seen that kind of mix," she said. "It is typically just one or the other."
The exterior architecture of Flowers Field is what Marricone considers the new community's most unusual feature.
"It was inspired by what you will find in a historic town or borough - in fact, more like Old City or Society Hill," she said.
Martin Millner, an agent with Coldwell Banker Hearthside Real Estate in Yardley, agreed.
"The design and layouts do look like they belong in the city," he said of Flowers Field, whose architect was Barton Partners.
The township also was involved in the design process, Marricone said.
"DeLuca wanted to build a village-like setting in which you didn't have to get into a car to go somewhere," she said. "That is our concept."
Flowers Field is in Lower Makefield's Edgewood Village Historic District, and the township has design guidelines to preserve the neighborhood's 18th- and 19th-century buildings and integrate new construction.
Millner said that the location had been envisioned as Lower Makefield's new town center, and that in 2011 the Board of Supervisors approved a plan by developer Cameron Troilo to create a mixed-use downtown on 15 acres incorporating historic and new buildings.
"This will be a walkable community," Marricone said. "Around the perimeter of the neighborhood, there will be restaurants, boutiques, and other establishments that will enhance the environment for the residents.
"Whatever a resident would want or need is almost at their front door - no long trips for almost any necessity," Marricone said.
The townhouses' exteriors will be varied, so one will not look like the next, she said.
"This is not a cookie-cutter development. There will be different facades, some with front porches, so when you look down the street, it won't look the same," Marricone said. "The dormers are true ones, not just sitting on top of the roof, and the shutters will actually close."
There are seven home styles - all named for flowers - with prices of the homes starting in the mid-$500,000s.
Two homes have been sold, including the model. Marricone said the model is being moved to a new location.
Flowers Field's townhouses range from 2,200 to 3,200 square feet, she said. They have three bedrooms, 21/2 baths, and full basements.
Plans offer first-floor and second-floor owners' bedrooms, but the second-floor master offers an optional elevator, she said.
There are two homes for quick delivery, she said, and work is starting on the twin homes and four more townhouses, as well as the new model.
Buyers so far have been people in their 40s, ranging up to 65, Marricone said.
"When we started, we thought that the 55-year-old would be our buyer, but that is not necessarily the case," she said.
"A man came in the other day and said he wasn't over 55 but was looking for a traditional second-floor bedroom, but, with an eye on the future, he was looking for the elevator."