5 Best Real Estate Markets for Hipsters

BOSTON ( MainStreet) -- Check it out, Daddy-O -- if you like your music live, your beer exotic and your clothes from small boutiques, here's a look at the hippest cities in America to move to.

"'Hipster cities' are a little more forward-thinking -- a little more progressive, a little ahead of the curve," says Rich Beattie of Travel+Leisure magazine, which recently surveyed more than 60,000 tourists to rank 35 U.S. locales for "hipness."

Respondents ranked cities they've visited for the presence of six hip things -- coffee bars, independent boutiques, microbrew restaurants, live music, a tech-savvy population and the presence of offbeat people. Locales that scored well offer "an energy that some people really thrive off of. I think that's what would lure someone to live there," Beattie says.

Of course, he admits squares would find a hip city "to be an absolute annoyance. It all depends on what a particular person is looking for."

Presuming you're the former and not the latter, grab your black beret and your copy of Being and Nothingness and check out these five hip locales -- along with a look at each city's real estate market. (Median list prices refer to median asking prices as of April on Realtor.com, the National Association of Realtors' official property-listing site.)

Fifth-hippest U.S. city: Portland, Maine
Median list price: $259,900

Maine's largest city makes the list thanks mostly to ranking third nationwide for microbrew restaurants (4.64 out of a possible 5) and fifth for independent boutiques (4.44).

"It might not be as obvious that Portland has the kind of independent ethos that you find in larger cities like San Francisco, but it's certainly there," Beattie says. "A number of top chefs have moved to Portland to open up great restaurants and bars, and that certainly speaks to the independent feel that the city has."

As for housing, Portland's median list prices on Realtor.com have dropped 3.4% on Realtor.com over the past year to hit $259,000.

The site lists about 2,300 Portland properties for sale, from an $85,100 two-bedroom condo to a $1.7 million restored 19th century Victorian.

Fourth-hippest U.S. city: New Orleans
Median list price: $174,900

Not surprisingly, the birthplace of jazz, Zydeco and Delta blues ranks No. 1 for live music, scoring 4.75 out of a possible 5.

But perhaps more unexpectedly, the Big Easy also comes in first for offbeat people, garnering a 4.63 score.

"There's obviously live music, a lot happening with New Orleans' music scene, and our users also felt you'd find large community of offbeat people to hang out with there," Beattie says.

As for real estate, the 1.2-million-population metro area saw median asking prices drop 2.6% over the past year to hit $174,900.

Realtor.com lists about 2,300 properties for sale in New Orleans, priced from $9,850 for a foreclosed two-bedroom house to $12.5 million for a 19th century mansion.

Third-hippest U.S. city: San Francisco
Median list price: $679,000

Like the song says: "If you're going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair" -- because the city's been hip since at least 1967 (when If You're Going to San Francisco topped the charts).

Hippies made the city's Haight-Ashbury district hip in those days, while San Francisco's Mission District and South of Market area are hot today.

Travel+Leisure readers ranked the City by the Bay No. 5 for offbeat people, giving it a 4.43 out of a possible 5. The 4.3-million-person metro area also came in sixth for coffee bars, scoring 4.47. But it's San Francisco's tech-savvy denizens that put it near the top of the hip list. Located less than an hour from Silicon Valley, the home of Craigslist, Twitter and other tech firms ranked No. 2 for tech-savvy residents, scoring a 4.59.

"All of the tech explosion happening in and around San Francisco makes it highly rated for tech-savvy people," Beattie says.

Unfortunately, San Francisco is the most expensive of America's hippest cities, with median asking prices up 5.3% over the past year to $679,000.

Realtor.com has some 1,200 Bay Area properties listed, from a $49,000 one-bedroom condo to a $25 million mansion in tony Pacific Heights.

Second-hippest U.S. city: Portland, Ore.
Median list price: $254,788

"I think the Pacific Northwest just has a 'hipster-ish' vibe -- and interesting coffee," Beattie says.

Oregon's largest city came in second place in Travel+Leisure's survey for coffee bars, scoring a 4.62. Portland -- which has so many breweries, beer-themed restaurants and beer festivals that locals call it "Beervana" -- also placed No. 2 for microbrew restaurants, garnering a 4.67.

If you're looking to move to Portland, Realtor.com lists some 3,600 properties $44,900 one-bedroom condo to a $6.9 million three-acre estate.

Median list prices have risen 1.9% in the past year, to $254,788.

No. 1 hippest U.S. city: Seattle
Median list price: $328,950

Perhaps it's no surprise the city grunge rock, Starbucks (SBUX) (and its Seattle's Best Coffee) and uncool-but-technophilic Microsoft (MSFT) all call home wins the title of "America's Best City for Hipsters."Beattie says the Emerald City took top honors mostly by ranking No. 1 for coffee bars and tech-savvy people (4.76 and 4.52, respectively).

"Seattle is certainly home to a lot of coffee and a lot of new technologies, so you find a lot of hipsters gravitating toward there," he says.

The city also has a thriving indie-rock scene and a long history of great live music. After all, musicians from Ray Charles to Kurt Cobain spent their formative years there.

Seattle's median home prices have risen 6.14% over the past year to hit $328,950. Realtor.com lists some 1,800 properties for sale there, with prices ranging from $42,500 for a one-bedroom condo to $10 million for a five-bedroom estate.

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