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07 October 2020 22:35

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"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," says Tara Lewis, Yelp trend expert. "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." The Cityness Index combines data from Zillow and Yelp to identify relatively affordable areas near major metros that offer amenities that give the suburbs the feel of big-city living. Key metrics include home values compared to the nearest big cities and to the country at large, housing availability, the mix and diversity of businesses--including restaurants, nightlife and the arts--and consumer reviews and check-ins. Using these criteria, Zillow and Yelp assigned a Cityness Index score to hundreds of suburbs across the country and identified the highest scores in 50 of the largest U.S. metros. Waterbury, Conn., near New Haven and Hartford, topped our list, beating out Lowell, Mass., for the top spot.

"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," says Zillow senior economist Cheryl Young. Zillow and Yelp's top 10 affordable suburbs with a city feel: "Waterbury offers a wide variety of international eats: Favorites on Yelp include Muyuri Indian Bistro, La Pupusa Loca, and Hasna's Afghan Fusion Cuisine, and locals and tourists alike love the donuts at Brooklyn Baking," says Lewis. Housing affordability is a major draw, as the typical Waterbury home is 29% less expensive than the typical home in New Haven and 46% less expensive than the typical U.S. home. Highly-rated businesses like Coffee and Cotton, Panela and Life Alive make Lowell a great option for people looking for a variety of locally-owned restaurants and coffee shops. Yelp data shows that Boston residents may be interested in moving, as consumer interest in movers recently increased 21% in the Boston metropolitan area, and home values in Lowell are about half what you would expect to pay in Boston proper.

Businesses like My Grain Brewing and Home Cut Donuts are highly rated Joliet favorites on Yelp. Yelp data shows that consumer interest for movers in the Miami metropolitan area recently increased by 11% and, with a portion of those people likely to be eying city-like suburbs, they are spoiled for choice. Multiple South Florida communities scored well in our Cityness Index, including Delray Beach and Boca Raton, but none could surpass the mix of affordability and city-like amenities that Sunrise offers. About 15 miles southeast of downtown Houston you'll find Pasadena, home to one of the largest urban wildlife preserves in the U.S. Yelp users rate Sycamore Grounds and Credeur's Cajun Cookin' as some of their top local haunts, and enjoy the great outdoors at Armand Bayou Nature Center. Yelp users particularly love the highly-rated Zero Degrees Custard and Italian Ice, and Bravery Brewing, and the suburb offers charming independent businesses like The Modern Tea Room," says Lewis.

Yelp data from the Los Angeles metropolitan area indicates that residents may be looking for a change, as consumer interest in local real estate agents increased 156%. Housing affordability relative to the area shot Lancaster into the top 10--the typical Lancaster home is less than half the price you'd expect to pay in the city of Los Angeles. Although typical home values in Marietta are slightly higher than the city of Atlanta, it's still relatively more affordable than other nearby suburbs, like Canton and Smyrna. Home to the University of Oklahoma, Norman offers a small-town atmosphere with a vibrant nightlife in addition to its plentiful coffee shops and parks. Just east of Phoenix and home to Arizona State University, Tempe is known for a bustling performing arts scene: Top-rated businesses in the arts and entertainment category on Yelp include Tempe Center for the Arts and Painting with a Twist. While looking for a mix of more space and affordability, many aren't ready to give up the city feel, data from Zillow and Yelp found. "Lowell sits about 25 miles northwest of Boston near the New Hampshire border, and offers an ideal blend of city-like amenities with suburban conveniences," the study states. It looked at four indicators, including a mix of businesses similar to major cities, a diversity of restaurant and nightlife businesses, a diversity of arts businesses and a high level of consumer activity. The companies noted that "residents can immerse themselves in the history of America's Industrial Revolution at Lowell National Historical Park or take a casual stroll along the Merrimack River, which winds along downtown Lowell." It also has a number of highly-rated businesses, including coffee shops. "Yelp data shows that Boston residents may be interested in moving, as consumer interest in movers recently increased 21% in the Boston metropolitan area, and home values in Lowell are about half what you would expect to pay in Boston proper," the study said. Lowell sits about 25 miles northwest of Boston near the New Hampshire border, and offers an ideal blend of city-like amenities with suburban conveniences. Residents can immerse themselves in the history of America's Industrial Revolution at Lowell National Historical Park or take a casual stroll along the Merrimack River, which winds along downtown Lowell," the company said. Businesses like My Grain Brewing and Home Cut Donuts are highly rated Joliet favorites on Yelp," the company said. "Yelp data shows that consumer interest for movers in the Miami metropolitan area recently increased by 11% and, with a portion of those people likely to be eying city-like suburbs, they are spoiled for choice." "Yelp data from the Los Angeles metropolitan area indicates that residents may be looking for a change, as consumer interest in local real estate agents increased 156%." Although typical home values in Marietta are slightly higher than the city of Atlanta, it's still relatively more affordable than other nearby suburbs, like Canton and Smyrna," the company said. "Home to the University of Oklahoma, Norman offers a small-town atmosphere with a vibrant nightlife in addition to its plentiful coffee shops and parks," the company said. "Norman homes are generally more expensive than those in Oklahoma City, but Norman still offers an affordability advantage over the typical U.S. home." "Just east of Phoenix and home to Arizona State University, Tempe is known for a bustling performing arts scene: Top-rated businesses in the arts and entertainment category on Yelp include Tempe Center for the Arts and Painting with a Twist. Key metrics include housing affordability compared to the nearest big cities and to the country at large, housing availability, the mix and diversity of businesses — including restaurants, nightlife and the arts — and consumer reviews and check-ins. "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 and Yelp's top 10 affordable suburbs with a city feel: Located near the New Hampshire border about 25 miles northwest of Boston, Lowell offers a great balance of city-like amenities with suburban conveniences. Brockton, Mass., also scored highly in our Cityness Index, demonstrating the number of affordable, livable city/suburb options available in the Boston area. Multiple Miami suburbs scored well in our Cityness Index, including Delray Beach and Boca Raton, but none beat Sunrise's mix of affordability and city-like amenities. Pasadena offers an affordability edge over Houston, with the typical home value 14% lower. Housing affordability relative to the area shot Lancaster into the top 10 — the typical Lancaster home value is less than half that in the city of Los Angeles. Typical home values in Hampton are almost 60% less than the nearby city of Virginia Beach and 36% less than the U.S. Although typical home values in Marietta are slightly higher than the city of Atlanta, it's still relatively affordable compared to other nearby suburbs including Canton and Smyrna. Home to the University of Oklahoma, Norman offers a small-town atmosphere with a vibrant nightlife and plentiful coffee shops and parks.