The Hottest Neighborhoods of 2014

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — The hottest neighborhoods in 2014 are often second choice but encompass a short commute or easy access to a commuter rail line at affordable prices, according to an annual listing.

"After a year in which prices popped 13%, Americans are checking out often-overlooked neighborhoods in search of affordability even if it means less-fashionable restaurants or a home that needs a little work," said Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman.

Redfin announced this week that Bernal Heights North Slope in San Francisco took the number one spot in this year's ranking of 105 neighborhoods across 21 cities.

The median sale price of a home in Bernal Heights North Slope is $982,000 with a median age of 27.5 years old.

"Farther out neighborhoods are attracting more new residents and in the process their infrastructures and communities are strengthening," said Rachel Musiker, spokesperson with Redfin. "Redfin agents report that competition for homes remains strong even in these second choice neighborhoods."

Eagle Rock in Los Angeles placed second with a median sale price of $539,000 and median age of 26 years old.

The ranking is based on the number of Redfin.com page views and favorites on a home listing between September and December 2013 compared with those during the same period last year. So, for example, Bernal Heights North Slope saw bigger growth in the number of website page views, a boost in page rank and a larger jump in the number of people favoriting than Eagle Rock.

In third place is Morningside-Lenox Park in Atlanta near AT&T headquarters and Emory University with a median sale price of $540,375 and median age of 27 years old.

"Morningside-Lenox Park's popularity is growing because of its proximity to Virginia Highland, a historically in-demand Atlanta neighborhood," said Danielle Coats, an agent with Redfin in Atlanta. "It has many of the same amenities, including well established, quirky eateries, a strong sense of community and an easy work commute."

Upper Chevy Chase in Washington, D.C. ranked fourth with a median sale price of $873,000, partly because housing is priced significantly lower than Georgetown. But the median age of residents is slightly higher at 45 years old.

"People often happily settle on Upper Chevy Chase after realizing they can have top-rated schools without having to leave the District or abandon the ability to quickly get downtown," said Philip Gvinter, an agent with Redfin in Washington, D.C. "The neighborhood is also popular among buyers looking for single family homes and highly rated schools."

Desert Shores in Vegas took fifth place with a median sale price of $179,525 and median age of 37.

"The buyers who have made these alternative spots so hot aren't like the ones we saw in the last boom who just borrowed more and paid up," said Kelman. "Our clients in 2014 have settled on a price range and they're sticking to it."

Other common desires among homebuyers are shared open spaces, highly ranked schools and parks.

"As neighborhoods grow in popularity and baby boomers move out of the homes they raised their families in, we may see the demographics in these hot neighborhoods shift toward younger age ranges," Musiker told MainStreet.

--Written by Juliette Fairley for MainStreet

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