Many want the kind of neighbor who will stop by with fresh-baked cookies, offer gardening tips and take out the mail while they're away — a thing that, if you live in an urban mecca like New York, is just as likely as finding a spacious apartment that's available and within budget.
In honor of National Neighbor Day on Sept. 28, self-storage company Neighbor.com identified Rochester in the Finger Lakes region of New York state as the most neighborly city in the country.
The study analyzed both big and small cities through factors such as resident happiness levels and number of people volunteering their time to the community.
"It's not a surprise that Rochester is the most neighborly city this year, it's made this list each year," Joseph Woodbury, CEO and co-founder of Neighbor.com, said of the findings. "Oftentimes, we connect hospitality with small cities, but you’ll find that people in large cities are just as likely to go out of their way to help one another."
Correlation Between Neighborliness and Home Values
While Federal Reserve economic data pegs the median price of homes sold in 2022 at $428,000, the median list price identified by Realtor.com for Rochester is $150,000.
Madison, Wis., and Provo, Utah followed Rochester as the most "neighborly" cities in the U.S. and have respective median list prices of $360,000 and $495,000.
Along with Provo, California's Oxnard breaks the list's mold with its high real estate prices — amid proximity to the beach (the city is about 60 miles from Los Angeles) and quaint Victoria architecture, the city has a median list price of $794,500.
Other cities on the list generally fall below the national average for a standard single-family home. Grand Rapids in Michigan has a median list price of $307,500 while that number is only $175,000 in Milwaukee, Wis.
Harrisburg, Pa., and Des Moines, Iowa are two other neighborly cities with respective list prices of $215,000 and $227,500.
Good neighbors have long been a hallmark of smaller cities with a quieter way of life — metropolises like New York and Los Angeles have very high property values, they are not exactly known for being "friendly" or "welcoming."
With a median list price of $495,000, North Carolina's Raleigh is the largest city to make the list.
Those who think New Yorkers are unfriendly need only to look outside the five boroughs — with a median list price of $334,000, Poughkeepsie also made the list for its neighborliness.
Search For the Next Big Real Estate City
As sleepy towns that paint a TV image of "neighborliness" tend to have lower demand, they may not offer the kind of real estate growth potential that many investors are specifically looking for.
But exceptions do exist — many small cities are currently in the midst of a real estate boon and, subsequently, an explosion in real estate values.
According to the study's authors, many homebuyers looking to move have specifically started looking for "friendlier" cities after the pandemic and are driving up demand for formerly quiet places.
Realtor.com identified Utah's Salt Lake City, Idaho's Boise and Washington state's Spokane as 2022's fastest-growing real estate markets.
"Being neighborly goes beyond a friendly wave while driving down the street or offering to water plants while on vacation," Woodbury said. "To be neighborly is opening yourself up to building relationships and ultimately a community that is rooted in compassion, trust, and care."