An age-old real estate golden rule for home buyers is to remember that you’re not only buying a property, you’re buying into a neighbourhood. The oft-repeated refrain is location, location, location – but what do the best neighbourhoods look like? Here are a few qualities to seek out when comparing properties.
7 characteristics the best neighbourhoods have in common
1. Green spaces
Greenery lends a pleasant atmosphere to any neighbourhood, as does attention to detail in local landscaping. Wide avenues lined with stately elm trees, flower beds bursting with fresh gardenias and manicured bowling lawns encourage residents to enjoy the view. Look for abundant, well tended public parks, nature trails or access to sandy beaches to take advantage of the great outdoors. The neighbourhood gets bonus points for farmers' markets, which not only offer ethically sourced produce but also serve as a social hub.
2. Low crime rates
Neighbourhood safety is often top of the list for buyers, so it’s wise to access local crime statistics. Your real estate agent can provide you with this information, or you can pull it up yourself from applicable government or police websites. Explore the area at different times of day on foot, as a street may feel very different in the hustle and bustle of daylight hours than it does after dark.
3. Highly rated schools
For families, good schools are a must. Read local inspection reports from government bodies or websites similar to Great Schools in your country of choice and study reviews from teachers, parents and students if available. Good schools boost property values in the neighbourhood and they’re also an indicator for families that there will be children’s activities and recreation outlets in the area.
4. Transport links
Being a short drive away from your workplace or from other onward connections, such as train stations if you travel often, can help save you time on your commute every day. Examine the options in the neighbourhood using tools like Google Maps to calculate transit times at different times of the day.
5. Retailers and eateries
Even in suburban or rural environments, the best neighbourhoods offer well-stocked grocery stores and basic conveniences in close proximity. Shopping and dining outlets boost the local economy and suggest that the area is in high demand, not only with its residents but also with visitors. Gourmet coffee shops and specialty boutiques can even indicate higher property values.
6. Community pride
If there’s one factor that links all of the best neighbourhoods, it’s pride in ownership. Residents who properly maintain their homes and gardens, look out for one another and take part in community events enjoy a higher quality of life and neighbourhood safety as a result. Look for community-minded amenities like libraries, swimming pools and recreation centres.
An easy, walkable route to schools, shops, parks and restaurants is highly coveted in today’s real estate market. Look for a neighbourhood with a high Walk Score and you’ll benefit from the ability to leave the car at home.
Finally, what makes a good neighbourhood great is its residents. Ideally, you’ll find a property that fits with your lifestyle and peer demographic, making you feel right at home. Browse our residential listings to find the location of your dreams.