Most homebuyers are not only looking for that perfect home for them to purchase, but also they want to live in a great neighborhood. What makes a great neighborhood is a difficult question to answer, because we as individuals have unique ideas and thoughts as to what is most important to us. MSN Real Estate posed that question to urban planners, a geographer, an architect and real estate agents to determine some of the key components that homebuyers consider in their decision of choosing a neighborhood. The three (3) elements or themes that came to the forefront are as follows.
People And Place
According to Frank Kent, founder and president of the nonprofit Project for Public Spaces, it is people and not developers, that create the culture and feel of a neighborhood. “It’s always a bunch of individuals coming in who think the potential for their community is bigger,” Kent says. “They have this feeling that something has happened there and start to do little things that collectively add up to a big thing.” Personally, I had the fortunate pleasure to grow up in such a neighborhood community. When I was six (6) years old my parents moved to the Lake Highlands neighborhood in Dallas. Although relatively new, the area grew and continues to be one of the most attractive communities in Dallas to live and raise a family. Many things have changed in the 54 years since we first moved there, but the sense of community pride continues to flourish.
Overall, elements that encourage interaction include, parks, boardwalks, public plazas and wide sidewalks are all people magnets, Kent says. Unique developments such as Allen’s Watters Creek, Plano’s Shops of Legacy and Southlake’s Town Center offer opportunities for people to dine, shop, walk their dogs, greet neighbors and people watch. Even in my old neighborhood, you now have Lake Highlands Town Center as that neighborhood has evolved with the wants and needs of the community. These are the places you take friends and family when you want to show them the neighborhood, planners say. “People attract people,” Kent says, so when businesses triangulate in one place, they give people a reason to want to live there.
Location, Location, Location
According to Andrew Schiller, geographer and CEO of Location Inc., well-paying jobs are another major consideration when choosing a community or neighborhood. “The places that have the most value and that gentrified first were those closest to, or have access to, high-paying jobs. They went up the fastest and the farthest,” he says. The planners also said that access to good public transportation was another important key factor by homebuyers in the cities and suburbs both. Residents in areas with public transportation had better access to jobs and lower transportation costs, leaving them with more money to enjoy their neighborhood amenities.
Quality of Schools
“By and large, the highest-value home prices in America are found in school districts of very high quality,” Schiller says. The schools are such an integral part of neighborhoods and communities both big and small as they provide a common bond of preserving community value. Schools provide so many activities and opportunities to build a sense of accomplishment and pride that the families can enjoy and share whether it be academic, athletic, etc.Source: MSN Real Estate
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