Finding the Right Neighborhood to Buy In

home selling

Whether you’re a first time buyer looking for their first home or a seasoned investor searching for your next buy and hold property, buying a house in a desirable (or up-trending) neighborhood is always recommended. Real estate industry experts say desirable neighborhoods are more likely to experience stable or rising home prices. Also, when plans change and it’s time to cut ties, properties in desirable locations tend to also sell faster and easier. So, financially speaking, long term home buyers are essentially investing in their neighborhood when they buy a piece of it.

Certain characteristics keep neighborhoods attractive to buyers over the long haul and these include school districts, crime rate, transportation, retail support, homeowner maintenance and appreciation potential. Before buying any property, you must research the neighborhood and preferably spend some time in the neighborhood to get a first-hand feel for it.

It’s also a good idea to get some general housing market data for the neighborhood you’re considering investing in (a realtor or a thorough web search can provide this). You’ll especially want to compare the listing and selling prices year over year to help analyze the direction a neighborhood is moving in.  Another stat to consider is the average days on market.  If year over year, a neighborhood’s homes are selling faster, that’s indicative of an up-trending neighborhood.

For example, below is some market data for some of the major neighborhoods in the South Hills area of Pittsburgh, PA (where Clean Green Real Estate is headquartered).  Based on the housing activity from Jan 2012 to 2013, the South Hills area as a whole appears to be up-trending from 2012 to 2013 but within it there are a few neighborhoods showing declines in sale/listing prices along with increases in number of days on the market.  Of course, this is using limited data and more for illustrative purposes but with extensive housing data spanning many years you can analyze the way local markets in your area are performing.

Pittsburgh, PA (South Hills area) Real Estate Market Trends for early 2013

Bethel Park

January 2013

  • Homes Listed: 12
  • Homes Sold: 17
  • Average List Price: $182,676
  • Average Sold Price: $175,611
  • Average Days on Market: 103

January 2012

  • Homes Listed: 24
  • Homes Sold: 17
  • Average List Price: $143,776
  • Average Sold Price: $137,550
  • Average Days on Market: 110

Cecil Township:

January 2013

  • Homes Listed: 6
  • Homes Sold: 11
  • Average List Price: $260,272
  • Average Sold Price: $253,504
  • Average Days on Market: 98

January 2012

  • Homes Listed: 12
  • Homes Sold: 11
  • Average List Price: $297,954
  • Average Sold Price: $294,455
  • Average Days on Market: 46

North Strabane:

January 2013

  • Homes Listed: 10
  • Homes Sold: 20
  • Average List Price: $250,872
  • Average Sold Price: $240,452
  • Average Days on Market: 91

January 2012

  • Homes Listed: 19
  • Homes Sold: 9
  • Average List Price: $156,569
  • Average Sold Price: $152,131
  • Average Days on Market: 84

Peters Township:

January 2013

  • Homes Listed: 16
  • Homes Sold: 15
  • Average List Price: $347,964
  • Average Sold Price: $336,331
  • Average Days on Market: 72

January 2012

  • Homes Listed: 30
  • Homes Sold: 13
  • Average List Price: $370,865
  • Average Sold Price: $364,519
  • Average Days on Market: 114

Upper St. Clair:

January 2013

  • Homes Listed: 12
  • Homes Sold: 17
  • Average List Price: $298,894
  • Average Sold Price: $286,729
  • Average Days on Market: 63

January 2012

  • Homes Listed: 25
  • Homes Sold: 15
  • Average List Price: $231,866
  • Average Sold Price: $221,320
  • Average Days on Market: 69

 

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