Finding the perfect neighborhood to call home is a crucial aspect of the home buying process. While established and popular neighborhoods have their appeal, there's something uniquely exciting about identifying an up-and-coming neighborhood with tremendous potential. If you are a first-time home buyer, an investor, a home-flipper, or someone just looking for a change, exploring untapped areas can allow you to get more for your money and future gains that will grow with the area. In this blog post, we'll explore some key indicators and strategies to help you spot these hidden gems and make an informed decision when choosing an up-and-coming neighborhood. An example of one such area near Charlotte is Monroe, NC.
Research Local Development Plans:
One of the primary indicators of an up-and-coming neighborhood is the presence of planned or ongoing development projects. Research local government websites, city planning initiatives, and economic development programs to identify any upcoming infrastructure projects, urban revitalization plans, or zoning changes that could positively impact the neighborhood. These projects often act as catalysts for growth and increased property values. Monroe has strong development plans for New Residential Communities, Historic Preservation Initiatives for their Historic District, extensive Park and Recreation Projects, and new features like the Monroe Science Center.
Trendy Businesses and Retail Establishments:
Pay attention to the types of businesses and retail establishments moving into the neighborhood. The presence of trendy restaurants, boutiques, and art galleries can indicate that the area is attracting young professionals and creatives. In Monroe, they have renovated the Historic Dowd Theater, attracted several new breweries and pubs, welcomed great restaurants and coffee shops, and the downtown is blossoming with new shops and boutiques. They also offer festivals and community gatherings in the historic downtown. Gentrification often follows these early signs of commercial development, transforming the neighborhood into a vibrant and sought-after destination.
Proximity to Established Neighborhoods:
Identify up-and-coming neighborhoods that are adjacent to or in close proximity to well-established and desirable areas. Urban expansion tends to radiate from popular neighborhoods as demand and property prices rise. Buying in a neighboring area with lower price points can offer an excellent opportunity for future appreciation as the desirable amenities and infrastructure gradually extend into the up-and-coming neighborhood. With the extension of I-74, Monroe seems to have become closer to Charlotte. Commuting or visiting Charlotte takes well under an hour, making Monroe a great sleeper suburb. Monroe is close to Ballantyne, Matthews, Weddington, and Waxhaw. It also enjoys lower Union County taxes.
Real Estate Market Conditions:
Analyze the current real estate market conditions in the area. Look for neighborhoods experiencing an increase in property sales, decreasing inventory, and rising property prices. These indicators suggest growing demand and interest from buyers, making it more likely that the neighborhood will continue to rise in popularity. My husband and I recently put our small historic Monroe home on the market to purchase another property in the area. Within 3 days, we had 14 offers on our home in Monroe’s Historic District. That is a great indicator of the burgeoning interest in Monroe.
Community Engagement and Pride:
Take note of the community's level of engagement and pride. Are there active neighborhood associations, community events, or local initiatives aimed at improving the area? A strong sense of community involvement indicates that residents are invested in the neighborhood's growth and improvement. Such communities often flourish and attract like-minded individuals who contribute to its development. Monroe continues to show increased pride through community activities and growth.
Access to Amenities and Infrastructure:
Consider the neighborhood's proximity to essential amenities and infrastructure. Access to quality schools, parks, recreational facilities, public transportation, and shopping centers can significantly impact a neighborhood's desirability. Research planned improvements or investments in infrastructure, such as new transportation routes or parks, as these can enhance the overall appeal of the area. Monroe, admittedly, does not have the best schools, but does offer several charter schools in close proximity. As well, the school choice program affords many the opportunity to enroll their children in neighboring schools. Park and recreation abounds. For public transportation, buses run from Charlotte to Monroe and there is a Greyhound hub in Monroe. Shopping is easy in Monroe. I-74 abounds with majors chains of grocery, fast-food, and convenience, where the downtown offers more quaint shopping and dining, like East Frank’s Superette.
Evaluate the Surrounding Areas:
When assessing an up-and-coming neighborhood, it's crucial to evaluate its surroundings. Look for nearby employment opportunities, cultural attractions, educational institutions, and entertainment options. A neighborhood that benefits from the amenities and attractions of a thriving city or has proximity to employment hubs is more likely to experience positive growth and increased property values. Monroe has several great employment opportunities from Tyson Chicken, Union County’s Government Center, True Homes, and many more. For attractions, Monroe has a Public Library, the Monroe Science Center, The Dowd Theater, Southern Range Brewery, Treehouse Vineyards, Movie Theaters, Several Petting Zoos and Farms, a Farmer’s Market, and much more.
Spotting an up-and-coming neighborhood requires a combination of research, observation, and intuition. By considering factors such as planned development projects, trendy businesses, proximity to established areas, market conditions, community engagement, access to amenities, and surrounding attractions, you can identify neighborhoods with the potential for future growth and desirability. Purchasing a home in an up-and-coming neighborhood can offer not only a promising investment opportunity but also a chance to be part of a dynamic community on the rise. Remember that everything may not be picture perfect at the outset, but it takes people like you to build a place to greatness!