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2 Important Factors in Judging Neighborhoods

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With home prices falling, buyers are looking for a neighborhood that has a greater likelihood of holding its value over the long term. But how do you know what neighborhood is doomed and which will appreciate over time? 

A recent article at Bankrate.com says judging a neighborhood's worth over the long haul comes down to two main factors: Jobs and access to amenities. 

For example, Andrew Schiller, creator of NeighborhoodScout.com, says signs of long-term opportunities for jobs in an area would be low unemployment, high household income, large or prominent colleges and universities, and seats of federal or state government. He says the Bureau of Labor Statistics is a good resource, particularly its Local Area Unemployment Statistics map, which provides unemployment information by metro area and county, as well as its Current Employment Statistics, which tells you how many people are employed in different sectors of the economy in a certain area.

As for judging a neighborhood's amenities that can generate long-term value, Schiller cites characteristics like a neighborhood that offers a variety of nearby retail stores, low crime rates, parks, distinctive architecture, and good public schools.

Source: "How a Neighborhood Holds Property Value," Bankrate.com (September 2011)

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