There are plenty of bargain-priced homes on the market right now, both in urban neighborhoods and suburban areas.
While a low price can make snatching up properties enticing, it is important to consider whether a neighborhood will help increase the value of a property in the near future.
Some areas will attract residents and homeowners in droves, but others will not appreciate very well.
Make sure you are buying into a hot market by taking heed of these five signs of an up-and-coming neighborhood.
1. It Has an Abundance of Parks and Open Spaces
Both inner-city neighborhoods with few parks and green spaces and suburbs without access to open common areas will see slow property value increases over the years, unless they are in extremely desirable locations.
According to an article by the National Park and Recreation Association, parks raise the property value of nearby homes by as much as 20 percent.
Be on the lookout for public investment programs that include plans to build parks in existing neighborhoods, as that's a strong sign that the area will become more desirable in the coming years.
2. It's Located Near a College or University
When a new college or university -- even a small, specialized school -- opens in an area, it is an incredible boon for the surrounding neighborhoods.
The institution immediately raises the demand for nearby housing.
The influx of students in the area also creates opportunities for businesses like cafes, restaurants, and shops to flourish, which in turn raises the desirability of the area for homeowners and renters.
In fact, a study found that even the smallest colleges with primarily commuter populations can have a profound economic impact on the area they are located in.
3. It Has a Strong Commercial Center
Historic areas with existing main streets lined with storefronts have a stronger chance of becoming sought-after addresses, even if the current storefronts are mostly vacant.
The presence of a commercial center in a neighborhood contributes strongly to the overall value of surrounding homes, and if a business district is already established, it is much easier for small businesses to move in and create the kind of urban revitalization that is becoming increasingly common across the country.
Even in suburban areas, properties are affected by their proximity to malls and shopping centers; those within a half-mile of the commercial center see the strongest boosts to property values, according to a paper published by Duke University.
4. It Is High Density
Although many people associate high density with things that lower property values, like heavy traffic and high crime, the truth is that the highest-density cities -- such as New York and San Francisco -- are also home to the most expensive real estate markets.
Even in traditionally low-density cities, demand for high-density neighborhoods is driving construction of condos in downtown areas.
Houston, for example, is rapidly developing several once-derelict central areas into high-density neighborhoods that will continue to be hot markets for years to come, according to a recent article.
5. It Has Good Public Transportation
Public transportation has also emerged as major driving force in determining whether a neighborhood will skyrocket in popularity in a short amount of time.
In fact, according to a report by the American Public Transit Association and the National Association of Realtors, homes in neighborhoods near transit facilities had values 40 percent higher than similar homes in neighborhoods without transit access.
Many major housing developments now include centralized transportation hubs in their designs, as the demand for housing near transit is only expected to grow in the future.
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