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Metros that Make the Dream Neighborhood Checklist

An affordable home for sale, highly rated schools, an easy commute and plenty of inventory are the four major factors on a homebuyer’s checklist for a homebuyer’s dream neighborhood. But according to an analysis by brokerage firm Redfin, only 25 neighborhoods check all the four boxes across 80 major U.S. markets.

The report released by Redfin on Monday found that more than half of the neighborhoods that “have it all” on the list are in the Chicago area, a rare major metro area that has remained relatively affordable and has not been affected by the severe inventory shortage trend seen across the U.S. over the past few years. Neighborhoods in Pittsburgh, Cleveland, San Antonio, Dallas, Houston, and Miami also made the list.

These neighborhoods were identified by Redfin on the basis of affordability, home selling speed, highly rated schools, transit, and low crime rates.

The report also said that the new tax bill, which caps state and local tax (SALT) deductions at $10,000, compounds affordability concerns especially in high-tax states like Illinois, where 14 of the 25 highlighted neighborhoods are located.

“Our general rule of thumb in Chicago is to set aside about 2 percent of the sale price for local taxes each year. These are the same taxes that help the city maintain a world-class transit system and help its schools rank highly. This is one of the reasons why so many Chicago ZIP codes made it to the list,” said Alex Haried, a Redfin agent in Chicago.

Dunning in Chicago was ranked first on the basis of this analysis, followed by Ashburn, Chicago. Squirrel Hill, Pittsburg; Jefferson Park, Chicago; and Elmwood Park, Chicago rounded up the top 5 on this list of neighborhoods.

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

To view the full report and rankings, click here.

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