America’s Most Livable Suburbs
Where’s the perfect place for your ‘forever’ home?Mar 17, 2021 • Justin Goldman
With the pandemic and the rise of remote work, many homeowners are turning their back on heavily populated metropolitan areas for larger houses with more green space.
And this got us thinking… which are the most livable suburbs in America’s major cities?
We’ve analyzed more than 600 suburban areas across the United States on a series of eight livability factors to reveal America’s most livable suburbs.
Co-founder & CEO of RenoFi, Justin Goldman, comments on the findings:
“One of the most important parts of finding the perfect home is the neighborhood. In this report, we’ve looked at some of the major contributing factors to what makes a good neighborhood.
“But still, many homeowners are struggling to find the ‘perfect’ home in that neighborhood. Whether the problem is size, layout issues, or the home is just dated, the physical spaces available just aren’t meeting their needs.”
“If you’re on the hunt for a new home and find a house that doesn’t quite accommodate your family, don’t reject it immediately. With a housing stock shortage, renovating could be the key to creating ‘forever’ homes in great neighborhoods.
“And for homeowners already living in one of the top-rated suburbs, renovating allows you to keep that perfect home location, and then make it work for your own lifestyle.”
From adding an addition to create more room for a gym or home office to knocking down walls and making it a more open space, to landscaping a backyard, homeowners are getting creative with remodeling. Bathroom and kitchen remodels are on the rise as well, and many homeowners are even building ADUs, adding an inground pool, or even an outdoor kitchen.
Our ‘America’s Most Livable Suburbs’ study reveals:
The most livable suburbs in the U.S.
Having compared more than 600 suburbs in 50 major cities across the United States against eight livability factors, we’ve whittled the longlist down to our final top 50 most livable suburbs.
And we can reveal America’s top three most livable suburbs as:
- Druid Hills, Atlanta
- Falls Church, Washington, D.C.
- Pimmit Hills, Washington, D.C.
- Melrose, Boston
- Pleasant Ridge, Detroit
Taking the top spot is Druid Hills, Atlanta, which is one of Atlanta’s most affluent neighborhoods and scored particularly well when it came to safety, one of the most important factors when determining livability.
Taking the second and third spots are two different suburbs of Washington, D.C., Falls Church and Pimmit Hills.
However, the city which has the highest number of areas amongst the top 50 is Boston, with 30% of the country’s most livable suburbs being found here, including Wellesley, Newton, Weston, and Winchester.
The suburbs with the highest income
A healthy income is one of the most important indicators when it comes to enjoying a comfortable life.
There are four suburbs where the average household earns at least $250,000, but this drops to as little as $17,550 in Highland Park, Detroit, a difference of $232,451 (1,325%).
Those suburbs with median incomes of $250,000 include two in San Jose (Los Altos Hills and Monte Sereno), as well as Mission Hills in Kansas City and Scarsdale, New York, some of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the country.
The suburbs with the greatest annual income growth
There’s a good chance you’ll want to know that the area you’re living in is growing economically, and the annual growth in household income is a great way to track this.
Our top suburb, Druid Hills, experienced great growth in average earnings over the last year: 31.1%.
But the area with the greatest annual growth is Stone Park, a small village in Cook County, just outside Chicago, where the annual household income has enjoyed an increase of 42.2%.
The suburbs with the cheapest housing
Affordable housing is another key factor for many in finding a great home.
The majority of the suburbs with the cheapest house prices can be found in Pittsburgh, Detroit, and St. Louis, with the cheapest overall being Braddock, Pittsburgh, at $31,000, on average.
The suburbs with the greatest annual house price growth
It’s good to know that the local property market is in a healthy condition. In fact, this can be a great way to justify investing in your home (especially when considering that a RenoFi Loan lets you borrow based on your home’s after renovation value; the more your home’s value increases, the more you’ll have available to pay for your project).
Many of the areas which have experienced the greatest growth in property prices also come in our top suburbs for income growth too, including Holden Heights and Westover Hills in Fort Worth.
But the area that has seen the highest year-on-year growth in annual property prices is Ruston, Tacoma, which started out as a ‘company town’ for a local smelting company overlooking Puget Sound. The suburb has seen an annual increase in house prices of 47.6%.
The suburbs with the lowest property taxes
Property taxes in the areas that we’ve studied range from 0.55% to 3.46%.
Data for property taxes was available at county level, with both of the two counties with the lowest rates found in Colorado, Jefferson County (0.55%) and Arapahoe County (0.57%), both on the outskirts of Denver.
On the other hand, the suburbs where residents pay the highest property taxes on average are found in Camden County, New Jersey.
The suburbs with the lowest unemployment rates
Unemployment rates are another key indicator of the economic health of a suburb, with three areas tied with a rate of 1.9%; Somerville in Boston, Arlington near Washington D.C., and Hoboken, New Jersey.
Interestingly, these are also among the suburbs with larger populations, with the likes of Arlington and Hoboken being important parts of the wider urban areas of the District of Columbia and New York City, respectively.
Three of the areas with the lowest unemployment are found in the D.C. area, with the other two being the independent cities of Alexandria (2.1%) and Falls Church (2.2%).
The suburbs with the lowest crime rates
Safety is of paramount importance, especially if you have a family, so it’s good to know that your local area has a low rate of crime.
The name ‘Sleepy Hollow’ might remind you of the 1999 horror movie starring Johnny Depp (or the more recent TV series) but the truth is that the real-life Sleepy Hollow, a village just outside of New York City, actually had the lowest crime rate of any of the suburbs we analyzed, with just 0.3 crimes per 1,000 people.
In fact, eight of the ten areas with the lowest crime rates are found around the New York City area, including Long Beach.
The suburbs with the best clinician to patient ratios
Finally, healthcare is an important consideration, so we also looked at how easy it is to access a local doctor in each suburb.
Again, there is quite a sizable difference across the country here, with patient to physician ratios ranging from 302 to 1 in Falls Church, Washington, D.C., to 2,307 to 1 in Jeffersonville, Louisville.
If you’re looking to move to one of these livable suburbs but can’t find the perfect house, it’s time to make a plan to renovate. There’s no need to compromise on location when RenoFi Loans exist.
For many homeowners, a RenoFi Loan is the perfect way to finance their entire renovation wishlist. A RenoFi Loan is a new type of home renovation loan that factors in what your home will be worth after a remodel, allowing you to borrow all of the money you need at the lowest rate possible.
We encourage you to arrange a call with a RenoFi Advisor or use the RenoFi Loan Calculator to see how much you could borrow and what your monthly payments could be.
How do I know if a RenoFi Loan is right for my project?
The RenoFi team is standing by to help you better understand how RenoFi Loans work and the projects they are best suited for. Have a question - Chat, Email, Call now...
We started out with a list of over 600 inner suburbs in the United States, giving each one a normalized score out of ten on the following eight factors, before taking an overall average score across all eight factors, with double weighting for the crime rate and patient to primary care physician ratio factors.
Median household income, median household income growth, median house price, and median house price growth were all sourced from Data USA.
Average property tax rate was sourced from SmartAsset’s Property Tax Calculator and shows the average effective property tax rate at county level.
Unemployment rate was sourced from BestPlaces.
Crimes per 1,000 people sourced from Neighborhood Scout.
Patient to primary care physician ratio was sourced from Data USA and is taken at county level.