Whether you seek to relocate or invest in real estate, suburbs shine with possibilities! Thriving neighborhoods have distinct characteristics. In fact, you can predict livability by the presence of key beneficial factors. Top American suburbs share these traits. Here are their commonalities.
Let’s start with a clear picture that distinguishes a suburb from a city. A suburban community resides outside a large town or metropolis. Most residents commute to city jobs. Business and office parks are common, hosting companies in small buildings of four to 12 floors.
Suburbs include housing divisions of single-family homes on communal property. Some are cul-de-sacs. Retailers abound in shopping malls, strip malls, and department stores. Many residents have pets. Students may have the option of walking to school. Now, here are features of best-in-class suburbs.
1. Public Transportation
Nearness to public transportation increases home value. Properties located close to buses, subways, and trains sell faster than similar distant homes. Such proximity makes transit convenient. Commuters can relax while skilled operators take riders to their destinations. Students have greater flexibility and independence than having to rely on parental chauffeurs.
2. Low Crime
Neighborhood safety affects residential security and home value. Crime rate is one way to tell if a community is safe. You can check crime rates with online tools. SafeWise, a US authority on home security, has identified several crime-tracking sites. Here are three to aid your decision-making.
AreaVibes – In the website’s search box, enter an address, neighborhood, city, or state, and you’ll learn its livability score. Seven factors are evaluated and graded from A+ to F. One of them is crime. AreaVibes categorizes crime by type, number of incidents, and offenses per 100,000 people. Statistical trends for an area are compared to state and national numbers.
NeighborhoodScout – Compare a town’s rates of overall, violent, and property crime with those of other cities, the state, and national average. You can describe a safe neighborhood that meets your criteria. Create a profile using keywords, such as crime risk and school quality. Then the site will match these features with similar communities.
CrimeReports – This site provides maps of recent neighborhood police activity. Search by address, region, zip code, and law enforcement agency. Icons on a map symbolize different types of crime. Clicking on an icon reveals incident details.
3. Quality Schools
A great education paves the way for a successful career. In addition to imparting knowledge, quality schools foster life skills, such as planning, adapting, focusing, socializing, and multitasking. They also develop virtues like empathy, self-motivation, and moral behavior.
Signs of a desirable school are small class size and a low student-to-teacher ratio. High scores on standardized tests are another indicator. Well-developed extracurricular programs expand a child’s horizons.
At GreatSchools.org and SchoolDigger.com, you can compare institutions and read reviews and statistics. If you’re a parent, before buying a home, visit a school in a neighborhood you’re considering. Attend classes, PTA meetings, and after-school activities. Make sure the school is a good fit before committing to a home purchase.
Even if you don’t have school-age children, living in a reputable school district keeps your property value strong.
4. Expert Healthcare
The best suburbs in America feature high-caliber healthcare close to residential areas. Living in such a locale spares you long commutes to doctors and hospitals. This access is critical during medical emergencies. It’s also vital for children, people with medical conditions, and seniors.
For any neighborhood you’re contemplating, research the nearest medical, dental, and urgent care centers. If you own pets, investigate veterinary clinics, too.
5. Recreation and Nature
A major draw of top suburbs is outlets for leisure activities. They’re also picturesque! They offer parks, athletic fields, and trail systems for biking, walking, and jogging. Some provide public pools. Upscale communities feature golf courses, tennis courts, and water parks.
Indoor recreation facilities abound as well. Examples are aquatic centers, bowling lanes, community centers, and ice skating rinks. Dog parks cater to canines. Beach access is a perk of some suburbs.
Homes in amenity-rich neighborhoods have high resale value. Plus, residents have a sense of belonging to a close-knit community.
6. Shopping, Restaurants, and Culture
The best suburbs shorten the distance to retailers and eateries, of which there are plenty. Conveniently located are supermarkets, pharmacies, warehouse clubs, and department stores. Cafés, diners, restaurants, and pizzerias pepper the area. Suburbanites drink in the culture at local theaters, museums, and art galleries.
Here’s a snapshot of a worthwhile investment property. It’s situated near schools, healthcare facilities, recreation opportunities, and stores. Commuters have quick access to public transportation and highways. Walkability makes a promising venture even better.
Look for several strong industries, supporting the local economy. For a coastal property investment, make sure there’s evidence of tourism. A large suburb will include various types of housing that can diversify your investment portfolio. Among them may be villas, townhouses, apartments, and freestanding homes.
Also, research the housing vacancy rates in the area. Low turnover indicates stability while a glut of “For Sale” signs is a red flag for trouble. View property from a buyer’s perspective, that of wanting a secure home. Indicators are respectable neighbors, community involvement, and low crime.
Gather all available data on the region from real estate agents, magazines, and websites. Also, chat up owners of longstanding businesses. Local merchants have inside knowledge that will expand your perspective.
Best of 2017
Are you wondering where to start in your quest for good property? If so, take the help of Niche. This website ranks top-notch suburbs, based on cost of living, job opportunities, public schools, crime, and amenities. Niche culls its data from factual sources, including the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the FBI.
For 2017, among the top 10 slots are suburbs of Philadelphia, Columbus, and Chicago.
The magic word in the real estate world is “location.” This one term implies access to public transportation, schools, healthcare, recreation, nature, shopping, restaurants, and culture. Add low crime, and you have the ideal lifestyle!
Daniel Palmier is a leading Boston CEO, Real Estate Investment Manager, and Founder of UC Funds.