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How Can a Neighborhood's Personality Help or Hurt the Real Estate Market?

 

Does a neighborhood's strong personality attract so much attention that "all press is good press"?
 
Does a neighborhood suffer if it has no brand?
 
What are the pros and cons of strong brands and what effect does a neighborhood's brand it have on buyers’ desires and sales?
 
Have you worked with clients before who wanted to live in a specific neighborhood just because it was "hot" or "trendy"?
 
Neighborhoods undoubtedly have their own personalities. A neighborhood's character is comprised of their mix of residents, homes, retail, topography, commercial offerings, transportation, and more. But some neighborhood's personalities are much stronger, more defined and distinct, and immediately evoke strong imagery and sensations that others do not. Think of Soho, Palm Beach, Beverly Hills, and Greenwich, CT. It’s hard to imagine not being able to describe the residents, housing, clothing, stores, topography, and retail of these places. These neighborhoods are brands and the power of branding is invaluable.
 
Brokers often find that newly-arrived house hunters come into markets with preset ideas of what neighborhoods they are focusing their search on based on influences from the mainstream media, advertising, literature and other cultural icons rooted in place. That isn’t always a good thing. The neighborhoods with strong personalities and those that are not as well known often offer much more than they publicly reveal. Take Greenwich, Connecticut, for example. Greenwich is notorious as an uber-wealthy suburban enclave filled with wasp-y residents donning preppy pink and green. But Greenwich actually has a diverse income base that is not only for the super-rich.
 
With that being said, we have questions we aim to answer to pitch this out:
 
How can a neighborhood's personality help or hurt the real estate market?
 
Martin: A neighborhood can add cache' or stigma to a property.  With an "only in New York" mindset, the same neighborhood could add cache' for one buyer and stigma for another.  For example the Upper East Side.  Many buyers like the neighborhood for clean, well-kept streets, amazing shopping, world-class museums and proximity to Central Park.  Others nickname the neighborhood the Upper LEAST Side since it is perceived as boring.
 
Does a neighborhood's strong personality attract so much attention that "all press is good press"
 
Martin: Well, the press loves sensational stories...A murder in a "tony" NYC neighborhood is always exciting but statistically, it is still much safer than many suburbs.
 
Does a neighborhood suffer if it has no brand?
 
Martin: Yes.  A neighborhood with no identity has lower sales in terms of dollar/square foot.  Murray Hill comes to mind.
 
What are the pros and cons of strong brands and what effect does a neighborhood's brand it have on buyers’ desires and sales?
 
Martin:
 
Pros:

  • High resale value
  • "Blue-chip" neighborhoods are less effected in a downturn...i.e. Noho and the West Village
  • Good shopping, restaurants, things to do.

Cons:

  • May not get a lot for your money.
  • Sometimes the neighborhood doesn't feel authentic...to "disneyfied"
  • May not meet many neighbors if there is a lot of pied a tiers.

Have you worked with clients before who wanted to live in a specific neighborhood just because it was "hot" or "trendy"?
 
Martin: I have clients wanting to know what the new "it" neighborhood is.  When I take them there, it's a 50/50 chance they will like it.  Each neighborhood in New York really is different.  At the end of the day, people like different ones for different reasons.
 
 
 

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