You might think we've become slightly obsessed with the affordability of living in America right now — and you would be right. When the top three most expensive cities in the world for renters are all in the U.S., well… Houston, we have a problem (because even Houston has its pricey listings).
A new report from Trulia takes a look at where first time home buyers can trade those high rents for relatively affordable neighborhoods with short commutes, schools, low crime and some decent restaurants in the nation's 100 biggest metro areas — even in the country's most expensive regions, like New York, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.
Using Trulia local data and home value estimates, plus data sets from partner sites (like Zillow, Yelp, Maponics and the U.S. Census), they ranked each neighborhood from various angles to narrow down the final top 10 starter neighborhoods where crime is relatively low, homes relatively affordable, an array of restaurants is within reach, schools are well rated, and commutes are competitive.
The six data sets they used as criteria were:
- Starter Homes (defined as % of homes that would take up between 25%-31% of a starter homebuyer's household income.)
- Median price per square foot
- Number of restaurants within a 1/2 mile radius, with ratings and reviews aggregated
- Percent of residents who have a 30-minute commute or longer
- School information and rankings
- Reported crime statistics
"To be clear: these are not the cheapest neighborhoods in each of the metros," says Peter Black, Trulia's lead geospatial engineer. "To make our list, [best value] neighborhoods had to score well in our categories, and even those that did were cut from our list if they had outliers such as high crime, but that doesn't mean they don't come with flaws. Some are near freeways and airports and may be noisy. Others are far away from city centers where commutes are longer."
To read the full report and see interactive maps for the top 5 best value neighborhoods in New York, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Miami, and Chicago, head over to Trulia's blog.