If you live in one of these towns, you probably already know: Life in the suburbs can be pretty sweet—if you pick the right one. We talked to Alison Schwartz, vice president of corporate communications for Realtor.com, and received a realtor-curated list of the top suburbs from Coldwell Banker's "Booming Suburbs" report to find the ultimate locales that blend easy living, a bustling economy, low crime rates, and access to arts, entertainment and the outdoors, among other attractive attributes. The living is easy and charming in these top-ranked towns across the country:
Maple Valley, WA
Growth in Employment (in the past year): +1.2%
Metro Area: 40 min. from Seattle
Median Home Sale Price: $264,000
Featured on Coldwell Banker's "Booming Suburbs" report, Maple Valley "harnesses the nostalgia of country living and the convenience of a city." Nature-lovers love its three lakes, two golf courses, and trails galore, while job growth in health and education (+4.3%), construction (+7.2%), and leisure and hospitality (+5.3%) draws a responsible, well-compensated population.
Other Booming Seattle Suburbs:
Cottage Lake (median sale price: $559,730)
Sammamish (median sale price: $540,000)
Mercer Island (median sale price: $760,000)
Growth in Employment: +2.4%
Metro Area: 15 min. from San Bernardino
Median Sale Price: $225,412
Located at the edge of San Bernardino National Forest, Redlands has natural beauty in spades, while also boasting strong increases in home listing prices. For anyone looking to retire, this is a big boon! Schwartz praises Redlands and the other California suburbs listed for their year-round access to hiking, running, golfing, and tennis among other activities. Top attractions near Redlands include California Citrus State Historic Park and the iconic, luxuriously well-kept, Van Buren Drive-In Theatre, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.
Growth in Employment: -1.1%
Metro Area: 25 min. from Baton Rouge
Median Sale Price: $183,000
A fast-growing economy, low crime rate, and a hefty dose of Southern charm put Prairieville at #2 on Coldwell Banker's curated list of "Booming Suburbs." As for Prairieville's stellar attributes, we'd also include proximity to Louisiana State University-Baton Rouge, since it affords easy access to arts, culture, lectures, and other stimulating pursuits.
Growth in Employment: +1%
Metro Area: 20 min. from Las Vegas
Median Sale Price: $162,982
Just a short drive from the dazzling lights and bustling casinos of the Las Vegas strip, Henderson is experiencing a real estate boom, which is especially important for retirees who might be considering downsizing or selling their home to make a profit, says Schwartz. “Henderson has the motto of ‘A Place to Call Home’ for a reason," she says. "Located in the middle of the Mojave Desert, Henderson is close to several [family-friendly] attractions including Lake Mead, Hoover Dam, and Mount Charleston." Also, the town boasts five golf courses, offering plenty of opportunities to tee up if the mood strikes.
Fruit Cove, FL
Growth in Employment: +1.4%
Metro Area: 30 min. from Jacksonville
Median Sale Price: $234,000
Described as a "charming suburb" in Coldwell Banker's "Booming Suburbs" report, Fruit Cove retains its "small-town feel," while being home to "some of the most unique small companies, corporate businesses and specialty shops." And did we mention the delightful weather? "Golf, boating, and fresh and salt water fishing are just a few of the activities that are available almost year round," says Charles Kassaw, branch manager of Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty in Jacksonville. Situated on St. John's River just 40 min from the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, Fruit Cove ranks #5 on the report, scoring high marks for employment, home ownership, and safety, among other attributes.
Growth in Employment: +2%
Metro Area: 40 min. from New York City
Median Sale Price: $525,000
Praised for its relaxed atmosphere, big backyards, and community safety, Haworth comes in at No. 3 on Coldwell Banker's list of "Suburbanites Best Places to Live" report. Other attractive criteria include beautiful, old homes, gas affordability, a thriving town center, access to outdoor, leisure, and cultural activities, and vast employment opportunities. The Borough of Haworth also maintains a Seniors Club for all residents age 62 and over, which costs $10 and includes lunch meetings and educational events.
Growth in Employment: +1%
Metro Area: 25 min. from Detroit
Median Sale Price: $276,000
Not only is Birmingham a mover and a shaker with regards to employment growth and ease of living, but it's also a short drive from Detroit, which was rated No. 4 on U.S. News & World Report's list of Cities with Tons of Top Hospitals, guaranteeing access to world-class health care. Another perk of being a Motor City suburb: Detroit and surrounding suburbs host the Woodward Dream Cruise, an iconic classic car event which draws more than a million spectators and 50,000 muscle cars each year. "Birmingham has a small town feel, but offers residents all the amenities of an affluent urban area," says Schwartz. "Its impressive shopping district brings in shoppers from all over the metro Detroit area."
Growth in Employment: -0.2%
Metro Area: 15 min. from Nashville
Median Sale Price: $453,977
Boasting the lowest crime rate in Tennessee (for areas with more than 20,000 people), according to Homefacts.com, Brentwood and neighboring Franklin draw their fair share of monied celebrity residents, from musicians to athletes, thanks to its proximity to Nashville. Plus, Brentwood residents do well for themselves in their own right: Many of them work at corporate headquarters for Nissan North America, Comdata, Tractor Supply Company, and numerous other publicly traded companies.
Laguna Hills, CA
Growth in Employment: +1%
Metro Area: 20 min. from Orange County
Median Sale Price: $403,000
Like Redlands, varied natural beauty—vineyards, beaches (gorgeous Laguna Beach is just a 15-minute drive from the town center), and the glorious mountains of Casper Regional Park are within driving distance—and excellent weather coupled with a strong economy send this California suburb to the top of Realtor.com's list of best suburbs. While Laguna Hills residents are evenly distributed in age, a full 35% of them are age 50 or over, creating a robust community that affords a wealth of social opportunities.
Growth in Employment: +1.2%
Metro Area: 25 min. from Provo
Median Sale Price: $225,361
With an impressive current unemployment rate of 3.2%, Lehi is known for having a strong workforce, supported by graduates from nearby Utah Valley and Brigham-Young universities, according to Coldwell Banker's "Booming Suburbs" report. Plus, it's agricultural and frontier roots have produced entertainment not found elsewhere, like the world-famous, annual Lehi Roundup Rodeo and 55 acres of botanical gardens. Situated between Provo, Salt Lake City, fishing-friendly Utah Lake, and the majestic Wasatch Mountains, this town is a boon for outdoor-enthusiasts.