Top hoods within the hottest markets


We know that metro areas like Chattanooga, Binghamton, and Peoria are showing strength. But what is it like to actually live in these places? Last week Inman News (along with content from Onboard Informatics and other data/information providers) looked at strong real estate markets to watch in 2012. Price appreciation/sales, strong job markets, and affordability among other factors churned out ten solid metro areas that are a good bet for buying, selling, and living.

As Lifestyle Search is one of the core pillars of Onboard's expertise, we're all for lifting up the hood (pun terribly intended) on these shiny cities to see how the parts work together underneath. Outside of giant metro areas, with stereotypical footprints left in our mind by the Back Bays, Park Slopes, and Castros of the world - it can sometimes be difficult to see the DNA of a community. That's where Lifestyle Search comes in.

Within the Top Markets to Watch, 2012

View A look inside the top 10 RE Markets to Watch, 2012 in a larger map

Just for fun, I ran Inman's top 10 metro areas through a handful of our 40 lifestyle attributes:

  • Areas with high presence of households with children, low crime, and high GreatSchools scores to find the Best Neighborhood for Families
  • Using the density of golf courses, driving ranges, and golf sporting good stores to come up with a Best Golf Neighborhood
  • Looking at the highest density of eating and drinking establishments, entertainment, convenience to everyday needs (various retailer density) and more to find the Best Neighborhood for Young Singles

In many instances, you'll see our neighborhood definitions don't align with how Google defines an area. The invisible boundaries that characterize these places can sometimes wrap around a handful of streets, like the six block area around the Downtown Farmers Market in Des Moines.

One note: our neighborhoods generally cover the urban core of cities and may not represent the entirety of the city's geography. In some cases - specifically Cedar Falls and Bloomington areas for this story - neighborhood-level data was unavailable, so we looked at place-level data instead.


Seeing how millions of data points and demographics play together to spit out aggregate 'best places' is wonderful not only for my own selfish navigation of American cities:

  • It can help those contemplating a move make the most of their dollar
  • It can give relocatees a clear view of their new area
  • It can orchestrate results that can answer quality of life, family, and leisure needs - the real benefits of an ideal move

I hope you enjoy exploring the Inman Top 10 and drilling down into the neighborhoods that've worked to stabilize those markets.

Let me know if you have any questions about how Lifestyle Search works and the many possibilities for creating amazing UX on your site!

Image Credit: Wikipedia