The trendiest neighborhoods in 2013 weren’t in New York or California — at least by one measure. Realtor.com crunched the numbers and revealed its list of the most searched for zip codes in the country during the last year. According to its data, 5 neighborhoods stood out, being consistently searched for month after month.
5. Ballantyne, Charlotte, NC
As Charlotte continues to sprawl, new neighborhoods have been created to accommodate new residents, including Ballantyne. Prices in this North Carolina neighborhood range from $87,000 to $6.9 million. Melissa Brown of Helen Adams Realty in Charlotte describes the neighborhood as “mostly white color,” with an average income of $120,000. It was developed by the Bissell Companies’ H.C. “Smokey Bissell in 1996. It now includes Ballantyne Corporate Park, which houses over 25 Fortune 500 companies, and Ballantyne Village, home to many area restaurants, and retailers.
Charlotte Magazine writes that, “The name Ballantyne has become shorthand not just for upscale suburban living but also for the mini-city that does its own thing. Maybe that’s because it sprang up out of nowhere around an interstate that didn’t even exist twenty years ago. Or because it lies at the outer edge of Mecklenburg County and is closer to South Carolina than uptown.”
4. Pembroke Pines, Hollywood, Florida
The city’s website boasts a number of amenities and accolades, so it is no wonder that it is the fourth most searched zip code. Year round sunshine and warm weather may be enough to entice some residents, but the city also offers landscaped parks, golf courses, music venues, bike paths, and other activities. It has been named one of the “100 Best Places to Live,” came in first place for where in Florida to raise children, and is an “All American City.”
Buying a home here costs between $200,000 and $719,000. The city started as a subdivision, totaling two-square miles in 1960. Now, it is a thriving community that celebrates its birthday every April with a parade, fireworks, and activities. It is named for the regions pine trees and is home to C.B. Smith Park, a regional recreation destination.
3. Wellington, West Palm Beach, Florida
Famous for equestrian and polo events is this Florida zip code, which owes its beginnings to Charles Oliver Wellington. Wellington purchased land in 1951, and developed the area first into farmland. Now, many south Florida residents call the neighborhood home, taking advantage of its 13 waterfront parks, nightlife, and outdoor recreation.
To live in Wellington, you would need a budget between $59,000 to $34.75 million. In addition to your new digs, you could be neighbors will Bill Gates. Forbes reported in June that Gates had purchased an “Equestrian Estate” for $8.7 million in Wellington.
2. McKinney, Texas
CNNMoney ranked McKinney as second on its “Best Places to Live” in 2012. Explaining the silver-medal finish for this town which dates back to 1848, the outlet noted accessibility, and a range of options. “The city offers plenty of housing options, from starter homes to old Victorians and “Texas-style” five-bedrooms. Low taxes have lured companies with white-collar jobs in technology and energy, a new hospital opened in July, and a conference center and hotel complex is in the works.”
It is located north of Dallas, and real estate currently falls within an $80,000 to $3.1 million range. “McKinney is a great place to live, arguably the best,” Mayor Brian Loughmiller said in a statement on the area’s website that, ”Our community has a consistently high quality of life for our residents, no matter how we grow and change. It’s amazing what we have in our city, and it’s just going to get better.”
1. Old Town, Chicago, Illinois
Old Town nabbed the top spot on Realtor.com for the second year in a row, with homes ranging between $134,900 to $18.75 million. German-Catholic immigrants in the mid 1800s were the areas first inhabitants, according to Chicago Traveler. During World War II, deep bonds were formed among neighbors, fostering a tight-knit community feeling that lasts until this day. Fairs, like the annual arts fair, originated in that post-WWII sentiment, and its continuation makes it one of the oldest art fairs in the country.
It is loved for its proximity to downtown, and the neighborhood’s historic feel. “You don’t have to wonder what this place looked like 100 years ago; just look at it now,” resident Shirley Baugher told a CBS Chicago affiliate. “Every one has a story and every one is just filled with character and history.”