Look beyond the obvious to evaluate the quality of a neighborhood. Here are 5 subtle indicators of a great neighborhood.

Moving to a new neighborhood is a big decision. So don’t just take a neighborhood at face value. Dig a little deeper and look at the not-so-obvious indicators of the quality of the neighborhood. 

Here are 5 hidden signs of a great neighborhood.

1. Places of worship and sports complexes

Even if you’re not religious, take a moment to notice any churches, synagogues, temples, and mosques around the neighborhood. And even if you’re not into team sports, check for a local organized sports complex.

In general, the presence of places of worship and places for team sports in the neighborhood means there is a strong sense of community. People are more likely to trust their neighbors and go out of their way to help each other when much of the neighborhood gathers on a regular basis.  

2. Construction

Construction is a sign of growth and development. It means the neighborhood is progressing. And progressing neighborhoods are naturally more likely to grow in value than stagnant neighborhoods. 

Of course, during a slow economy, construction will slow even in the best neighborhoods. But you can still see signs of recent construction and renovations. Buildings with fresh paint, new signage, and modern aesthetics are all a good sign.

3. Starbucks (seriously)

Living near a Starbucks doesn’t just mean convenient access to your grande skinny half-caff vanilla latte. It could also mean a more valuable home.

A Zillow study of 20 metropolitan areas found that homes located within a quarter mile of a Starbucks appreciated 114.4% in value between January 1997 and December 2013. Compare that to homes located further than a quarter mile from a Starbucks, which appreciate only 80.9% during the same period. This study specifically focused on U.S. metro areas, but hopefully Zillow will be releasing a study specific to Canada now that they’re branching into our metro markets! 

Do Starbucks really makes neighborhoods better? Or maybe they just do their research and open in already successful markets. Either way, they’re a clear indication of a good area.

4. “For Sale” signs that don’t stay up long

Pay attention to how long For Sale signs stay up before they get a big SOLD rider added. If houses sell quickly, it means the neighborhood is in demand; that neighborhood is the place to be! 

Don’t see any For Sale signs? That’s also a good thing. It means the current residents love where they live and aren’t interested in selling.

5. Distance to public transportation

In metropolitan areas, distance to public transportation is a subtle sign of a valuable neighborhood. A study of five major metro areas found that property values performed up to 41.6% better if they were located within half a mile of a public transportation stop.

But choose a home with a little distance from the stop. If you’re so close to the stops that the noise is disruptive, your quality of life and resale values will both be impacted.

Investing a little time now to look beyond the obvious will pay off for years to come as you enjoy life in your new neighborhood.