The number of homes for sale nationwide has been falling for more than two straight years, and home prices in the hottest markets have risen by double digits in as much time. This has created a conundrum for homebuyers seeking a neighborhood that “has it all”affordable homes for sale, highly rated schools and an easy commute.

Redfin analysts found just 25 neighborhoods that fit the bill across 80 major U.S. markets. More than half of the neighborhoods on the list are in the Chicago area, the rare major metro area that has remained relatively affordable and has largely bucked the severe inventory shortage trend seen across much of the country over the past few years. Neighborhoods in Pittsburgh, Cleveland, San Antonio, Dallas, Houston and Miami also made the list. These are places to watch in 2018, when we expect last year’s trend in migration from expensive, high-tax coastal markets like San Francisco, Silicon Valley and New York toward smaller, more affordable cities, to intensify.

Have It All

Neighborhood in Chicago, IL

We identified the neighborhoods using the following criteria:

  • Affordability: Zip codes were selected that had a median home sale price below the national median of $291,700*.
  • Home Selling Speed: Several months of falling inventory and strong demand mean the most desirable homes go off the market within days of being listed. Selected zip codes had a median days on market of at least 46**.
  • Highly Rated Schools: Neighborhoods with a GreatSchools rating of 5, which is considered average, or higher were chosen.
  • Transit: Neighborhoods with a Transit Score® of at least 50, indicating many nearby public transportation options, were included.
  • Low Crime Rates: Using crime data from BestPlaces, our ranking favored places with lower reported violent crime.
Rank Zip Code Neighborhood in Zip Code (City) Median Sale Price # of Homes For Sale  (As of December 2017) Median Days on Market School Ranking Transit Score Crime Rate (lower the better)
1 60634 Dunning(Chicago, IL) $  256,000 263 76 6.6 55.4 35
2 60652 Ashburn(Chicago, IL) $  175,000 135 63.5 5.6 55.5 38
3 15217 Squirrel Hill (Pittsburgh, PA) $  272,500 117 72 5 50.4 28
4 60630 Jefferson Park (Chicago, IL) $  275,000 170 60 8 63.8 36
5 60707 Elmwood Park (Chicago, IL) $  250,000 164 62 5 54.1 38
6 60302 Oak Park (Oak Park, IL) $  278,000 167 69 9.4 59.9 38
7 60613 Wrigleyville (Chicago, IL) $  269,000 266 55 7.8 78.6 40
8 60645 West Ridge(Chicago, IL) $  189,000 148 69 8 57.7 44
9 60659 North Park (Chicago, IL) $  226,500 89 81 8.8 53.8 44
10 60202 Evanston (Evanston, IL) $  272,000 111 65 7.5 51.7 40
11 60660 Edgewater (Chicago, IL) $  203,750 144 63.5 6.667 70.7 49
12 61801 Campustown (Urbana, IL) $  122,100 100 80 5 55.8 56
13 77022 Independence Heights (Houston, TX) $  137,000 45 69 5.667 50.5 61
14 60640 Andersonville (Chicago, IL) $  243,000 244 62 5.5 75.8 53
15 60625 Lincoln Square (Chicago, IL) $  285,000 170 61 6.889 62.2 48
16 44120 Shaker Heights (Shaker Heights, OH) $  115,560 171 108.5 7.25 51.9 71
17 33162 North Miami Beach (North Miami Beach, FL) $  220,000 153 59 6 50.9 59
18 60641 Belmont Gardens (Chicago, IL) $  275,000 160 59 5 62.4 49
19 78229 Lafayette Place (San Antonio, TX) $  142,500 59 52 5.5 51.2 75
20 44106 University Circle (Cleveland Heights, OH) $  165,000 71 77 7 55.1 77
21 75203 Cadillac Heights (Dallas, TX) $  205,000 11 538 6.333 52.8 80
22 40507 Speigle Heights(Lexington, KY) $  277,500 9 171 5 55.8 69
23 76102 Fort Worth(Fort Worth, TX) $  259,950 27 59 5 50.0 84
24 35203 Central City (Birmingham, AL) $  270,000 32 66 8 54.7 87
25 45202 Mount Adams (Cincinnati, OH) $  291,000 184 82 5 70.8 83

The new tax bill, which caps state and local tax (SALT) deductions at $10,000, compounds affordability concerns, particularly in the high-tax state of Illinois, home to 14 of the 25 highlighted neighborhoods. Redfin agent Alex Haried in Chicago, says taxes should always be considered when analyzing affordability.

“Our general rule of thumb in Chicago is to set aside about 2 percent of the sale price for local taxes each year,” he said. “These are the same taxes that help the city maintain a world-class transit system and help our schools rank highly, so it’s a necessary evil and a big reason why so many Chicago zip codes made the cut.”

Another theme for areas that ranked highly was access to job centers, which is the case for Squirrel Hill in Pittsburgh.

“Relocators have really taken kindly to Squirrel Hill not only because of the affordability, but also the commute,” said Redfin Pittsburgh agent Jennifer Sowers. “Google, Uber and Carnegie Mellon University are large employers in the area and a short commute away via public transit.”

Methodology: The analysis rated zip codes across 80 markets according to median sale price and median days on market in November according to the Redfin Real-Time Housing Market Tracker, as well as Transit Score from Walk Score® and school ratings from GreatSchools.  The final ranking was determined by ranking zip codes according to each criteria described above, along with crime rates from the “violent crime scale” on BestPlaces.net, and then taking the average of all those rankings to rank order the top 25 zip codes. Local Redfin agents assisted in identifying the neighborhood name that most closely matched each zip code.

*$291,700 was the national median sale price in November 2017

**46 was the national median days on market in November 2017

 

Source: Redfin