How To Spot Up And Coming Neighborhoods

I often get asked about where the next “hot” neighborhood is in Atlanta and while I can’t predict the future, I can share with you how I assess up and coming neighborhoods to determine if they have strong investment potential.

When assessing Intown neighborhoods I have four criteria that I look for; grocery/dining, construction, architecture, assessability

Grocery and Dining

First I determine if any new and trendy local restaurants and coffee shops are opening up in the neighborhood.  Then I look for chains such as specialty grocers like Whole Foods or a Starbucks. If I find higher-end dining and grocery then I know that these places will attract middle to upper-class households. Therefore I can speculate that eventually these businesses will begin attracting people to live in the vicinity.  In fact, according to Zillow, between 1997 and 2013, homes closer to Starbucks coffee shops increased in value by 96%, compared to 65% for all U.S. homes. That’s 31% more than that of all U.S. homes!


When I drive around looking at real estate opportunities, I am always looking out for new residential or commercial developments taking place.  If I see a more than normal amount of construction activity, it’s worth taking a trip to the city permit office for additional research. You can be sure that if developers are building then they believe that there’s a growth opportunity.  However, you want to ensure you understand what’s being built, for example, trendy condos vs. low-income housing.


This is an interesting and often-overlooked assessment.  If there is unique architecture in the area then that lends to trendy and unique renovations.  Consider that some of the hottest real estate markets, like San Francisco, New York, and Boston all have amazing historical architecture.  Historical residential architecture generally attracts higher-end buyers looking for unique home buying opportunities. Purchasing unique, historical architecture is like buying a piece of art,  it’s exciting knowing that you have a one of a kind piece of history.


Lastly, I’ll evaluate the neighborhood’s proximity to major highways and public transportation.  Ease of accessibility is becoming more and more important to buyers as they look to reduce commute and car time.  According to US News, residential property values performed 42% better on average if they were located within a half-mile of public transportation. Additionally, Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors was quoted as saying “When consumers choose a home, they also choose a lifestyle. Shorter commutes and more walkable neighborhoods matter to a growing number of people, especially those living in congested metro areas.”

As a last step in my evaluation process, after I’ve checked off the above criteria, I start looking at value indicator metrics such as sales price trends and how long homes stay on the market before they’re sold.

Here are my top picks for neighborhoods that meet these criteria in Atlanta:


Downtown Atlanta

I consider Downtown a massive up and comer in Atlanta where you can find very good value for property Intown. Downtown has a lot of exciting developments happening and it meets all of my criteria listed above.  You can learn more about downtown opportunities from the post I wrote about downtown last year.


Cabbagetown Atlanta

Cabbagetown continues to sit on my radar as an up and comer, especially as they extend the Eastside trail to run directly into the neighborhood giving it premium accessibility to everything the beltline has to offer.


Kirkwood Atlanta

Kirkwood is another neighborhood that’s been on my radar.  Its like it’s own little small town within the heart of Atlanta. It has a fun historic downtown area, unique Victorian style homes, and cozy craftsman style bungalows.

I invite you to use some of these criteria as you evaluate your next home or investment opportunity. As always, I can be of assistance in evaluating neighborhoods in Atlanta then please contact me here.