Buying in an up and coming neighbourhood is a savvy move that can really pay off. But how do you find such an area? Here are some tips to help you identify neighbourhoods on the upswing.
- Take a drive or walk around town. Are the locals improving their homes and businesses? Look for such evidence as scaffolding, removal dumpsters, trucks and lawn signs belonging to trade services like general contractors, roofers, and painters. Improvement at the individual level is often tied to improvement at the community level.
- While on your local tour, keep an eye out for signs of commercial investment. Businesses do their homework on an area before moving into it; if there are many new stores and services under development in a neighbourhood – popular coffee chains and trendy shops and eateries, in particular – that's a good indicator of positive growth.
- Do some research into local facts and figures. A by-the-numbers picture of a community can be very telling as to the direction in which it's headed. Take housing starts for example: How have they been trending over the last six months? How do they compare year to year? Is enrollment in local schools decreasing, stable, or on the uptick?
- Talk to a real estate salesperson. No one has their finger on the local pulse quite like a real estate rep; in addition to information on all the topics mentioned above, they can tell you if infrastructure plans are afoot for the area, if there's a big employer moving in and if available properties have begun to sell more quickly and for more money, for example.