Data powerhouses create “Cityness Index” to identify suburbs that best strike a balance between affordability and urban amenities. No. 3 is surprising, to say the least.

The “Great Reshuffling” is upon us as the pandemic has people reconsidering where and how they live. To identify places that fit the bill, data powerhouses Zillow and Yelp have created a “Cityness Index” that identifies suburbs that strike a balance between housing affordability and urban amenities.

“More and more Americans are working remotely and rethinking how and where they want to live,” the companies said in a press release. “Urban amenities — like restaurants, nightlife, museums and sports venues — have long drawn Americans to live in large cities. While demand remains strong there, many buyers are seeking a new balance of indoor and outdoor space and affordability while still maintaining that big-city feel.”

The Cityness Index combines data from Zillow and Yelp from June 2020 to August 2020 and key metrics include home values compared to the nearest big cities and to the country generally, housing availability, the mix and diversity of businesses — including restaurants, nightlife and the arts — and consumer reviews and check-ins, according to the companies.

“At Yelp, we’re seeing consumer interest and requests for quotes in categories like movers, packing services and mortgage lenders increase in major metro areas, compared to the same time period last year,” said Tara Lewis, Yelp trend expert, in a statement.

“For city dwellers who don’t want to sacrifice great amenities like restaurants, art galleries and nightlife, but are dreaming of a little more space and a more affordable lifestyle, these suburbs offer a similar variety of great local businesses.”

Zillow offered the housing market data, Yelp offered the business data and each was given 50 percent weight in the final analysis. Suburbs were defined as “[a]ny city not included in the official name of a metropolitan area, as defined by the U.S. Census.”

“We are seeing extremely strong housing demand due to low interest rates and more and more millennials and Gen Zers reaching prime home buying age,” Zillow Senior Economist Cheryl Young said in a statement.

“This demand is also driving up prices and depleting inventory,” Young said. “Young people looking to buy and find space for their expanding families can bid farewell to big city premiums without giving up the feel of a city in amenity-rich suburbs.”

Here are Zillow and Yelp’s “top 10 affordable suburbs with a city feel”:

1. Waterbury, Connecticut

Typical home value: $139,304

Cityness Index Score: 67.6

2. Lowell, Massachusetts

Typical home value: $323,576

Cityness Index Score: 64.7

3. Joliet, Illinois

Typical home value: $155,018

Cityness Index Score: 63.8

4. Sunrise, Florida

Typical home value: $243,078

Cityness Index Score: 60.7

5. Pasadena, Texas

Typical home value: $168,080

Cityness Index Score: 60.5

6. Lancaster, California

Typical home value: $320,494

Cityness Index Score: 59.3

7. Hampton, Virginia

Typical home value: $188,373

Cityness Index Score: 58.6

8. Marietta, Georgia

Typical home value: $318,069

Cityness Index Score: 58.4

9. Norman, Oklahoma

Typical home value: $180,833

Cityness Index Score: 58.2

10. Tempe, Arizona

Typical home value: $338,052

Cityness Index Score: 57.9

Email Andrea V. Brambila.

Like me on Facebook | Follow me on Twitter

coronavirus | Zillow
Show Comments Hide Comments


Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
We've updated our terms of use.Read them here×