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Best neighborhoods for starter homes in the U.S.

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New Trulia report focuses on areas in or near big cities with the best value for new buyers


For first-time homebuyers in the United States, finding an affordable starter home has become more and more of a challenge. Just a scant 21 percent of home inventory nationally can be considered a starter home, according to recent Trulia data, and the number of such homes has decreased in 75 of the country’s 100 biggest metro areas (dropping a startling 80 percent in some popular markets such as Austin).

But in certain neighborhoods, there are still value buys that offer significant savings on the median sale price, according to a new Trulia report, America’s Best Value Neighborhoods. Instead of compiling a list of the cheapest neighborhoods, the residential real estate site factored in housing cost and amenity level with school ranking, crime stats, and commute times to figure out where buyers received the “best bang for the buck” when searching for an affordable home.

Here are five neighborhoods in expensive metro areas that offer the best combination of price and livability, according to the Trulia analysis. An interactive map also offers value neighborhoods for other major metro areas.


New York City: Yonkers, New York

Trulia found the Ludlow neighborhood in Yonkers, in Westchester County just north of New York, offered exceptional value for the region, with low crime, good schools and amenities, and a median list price of $463,401 (the metro median home value is $657,900). For those who want to stay in New York City, outer-borough neighborhoods such as Woodlawn Heights and Pelham Gardens in the Bronx, Westerleigh on Staten Island, and Glendale and Woodhaven in Queens all offer homes around $500,000.


San Francisco: Redwood City, California

Underscoring the report’s focus on value, homes in this South Bay city aren’t necessarily cheaper than those in the region as a whole: median home values range from $1.1 million to $1.4 million in Redwood City, straddling the $1.2 million San Francisco average. But with great amenities and a 30-minute ride to downtown via the Caltrain, Redwood City neighborhoods such as Palm Park, Roosevelt, Redwood Oaks, and Woodside Plaza offer a great return on investment.


Washington, D.C. Avondale, Maryland

Trulia’s research found some great values in the District, including Kingman Park. But the best values near the capital can be found in the University Park neighborhood of Avondale, Maryland, which boasts good schools, low crime, and a median home value of $455,189, a little more than $100,000 under the area’s median listing price of $558,500.


Chicago: Palatine

The midwest city’s median home value—$222,000—underscores how many neighborhoods remain relatively affordable For the best value, Trulia suggests heading to the near-north suburb of Palatine, specifically Fairgrounds Park, where the median homes value is $238,018, and commutes are relatively easy.


Miami: Melrose Vista

Southern Florida’s boom-to-bust market offers low prices compared to other major metro areas: the median home value is $298,300, and the median list price is $435,000 and trending lower. Trulia found the best values in Broward County, specifically the Flamingo Park and Riverland Village neighborhoods of what the site is calling Melrose Vista (technically Fort Lauderdale), which have “killer schools” that scored near the top of Trulia’s rankings and median home values of $220,942.