Why do you live where you do?

Oftentimes, the answer is, “It’s affordable.” Some might say because it’s close to where they work. And for others, it’s due to family living nearby.

Most of us, however, choose to live in a particular neighborhood because we like the feel of the community, or its “vibe,” according to our latest survey.

That old adage, “the three most important things about real estate are location, location, location” still holds true for today’s homebuyer, who believes the atmosphere of a neighborhood is a crucial component. So much so that 88 percent of Americans surveyed say that a neighborhood’s vibe plays an important role in deciding where to live — and four out of five adults say that their neighborhood has to fit their personality.

Thirty-somethings focus more on a neighborhood’s vibe than any other age group — perhaps because they’re often first-time homebuyers. Almost two-thirds of 30 to 39 year-olds say that an area’s feel is very important. (Interestingly, those 55 and older care about it the least.)

The vibe of the neighborhood is so crucial that 82 percent of survey respondents say if they didn’t like it, they would consider moving, while another 73 percent say they would be willing to settle for a small house or pay a little more to land a house in their perfect community.

Interestingly, Americans living in the South and West are more likely than those residing in the Midwest to let a neighborhood vibe determine where they live, and women tend to be more passionate about a community’s atmosphere than men.


Why Neighborhood Vibes Matter

Applying for a mortgage and purchasing a home is a big commitment, so it’s important that you determine what neighborhood vibe is right for before making an offer and signing on the line.

For years, the preferred neighborhood vibe was straight out of “Leave It to Beaver”: a three-bedroom house with a white picket fence out front and kids running from house to house all day long. But is it still?

What Are the Most Desirable Neighborhood Vibes Today?

As it turns out, folks of all ages still desire that “quiet and quaint” atmosphere — only with a more modern feel. Slightly more than one-third of people are attracted to a neighborhood with lots of friendly people, curb appeal, tree-lined streets, and one where you don’t need to lock your doors. (Think: Stars Hollow, which is depicted in the television show “Gilmore Girls” or the Pearsons’ Pittsburgh suburban neighborhood in “This Is Us.”)

Almost as many — 28 percent, to be specific — are attracted to a neighborhood like what they see on “How I Met Your Mother” or “2 Broke Girls.” Living there, they can walk to everything, including friends’ places, reasonably priced bars and restaurants, coffee shops, and public transportation.

Millennials in particular, who make up more than a third of today’s home buyers, according to the National Association of Realtors 2018 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report, rank this community vibe tops.

Not surprisingly, those that prioritize a healthy lifestyle and communing with nature want a house that has ample outdoor space and is near hiking trails, the gym, farmer’s markets and organic farms. One quarter of Americans hope to live in this type of community, which they see on “Alaska: The Last Frontier” or “Last Man Standing.”

In stark contrast, “family centric” house hunters desire a safe neighborhood with sidewalks, playgrounds, and a good school system. Twenty-one percent of people want a home in one of these “Modern Family” or “Full House” communities Schools are nearby, and loads of families live in them, so there are always lots of activities for kids.

Americans may like their cultural centers, but they’re not neighborhood must-haves for most, especially those with families. Only 15 percent look for cultural attractions like museums, historical sites, and theaters, a la “Rick Steve’s Europe,” close to their home.

Even fewer are on the hunt for a house in an upscale “Sex and the City” or “Seinfeld” neighborhood. These are chock full of fancy restaurants and bars, a great selection of retail stores for shopping, and beautiful architecture, but just nine percent want to call a community like this home.

Perhaps people consider cultural activities and upscale dining and shopping more of a vacation thing?

And while just about every American owns a cell phone of some kind and almost half check their smartphones before they crawl out from underneath the covers, only 12 percent of respondents look to reside in the high-tech worlds of “Silicon Valley” or “The Big Bang Theory.” This type of neighborhood offers conveniences like good cell phone service, EV car charging stations, a choice of cable providers, and sustainable energy sources, but consumers appear to prefer other amenities instead.

While it’s important to choose a neighborhood that is a good fit for you and your wallet, buying a property in a neighborhood with a vibe you adore can make it easy to turn your house into a home.

What kind of vibe do you want your community to have? Tell us in the comments below or take our quiz to ID the perfect neighborhood for you.

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