These are the most neighborly cities in America, study finds

Tips for buying a home in an area with strong community engagement

A new study ranks the top mid-size and large cities by community friendliness to determine the most neighborly cities in America.  (iStock)

If you're looking for a new city to put down roots, you might consider a few factors like job opportunities, cost of living and proximity to outdoor amenities. Potential homebuyers may want to consider a new indicator: the sense of community.  

Indianapolis takes the top spot for the most neighborly city in America, according to a new report by StorageCafe. About three-quarters (74%) of Indianapolis residents are happy with their neighbors. The Hoosier Capital is followed by No. 2 Columbus, Ohio and No. 3 Houston. 

Top 10 Neighborly Cities in America

Two North Carolina cities ranked in the top 10 best places in the study — the state's capitol Raleigh (No. 5) and Charlotte (No. 10). Residents in two Florida cities also rated their neighborhoods highly: No. 7 Miami and No. 9 Orlando.

"Because people are social by nature, they need each other," said Dr. Joseph Ferrari, a community psychology professor at DePaul University. "Being in a setting where people can get to know each other, such as a neighborhood, can create a system of mutual support."

Keep reading to learn more about the most and least neighborly cities in America, as well as how you can buy a home in one of these highly-rated locales. You can begin the homebuying process by comparing mortgage rates on Credible for free without impacting your credit score.


Living in a tight-knit community can increase overall well-being

The StorageCafe study analyzed 30 mid-sized and big cities, taking criteria into account such as satisfaction with neighbors, sense of community, involvement in community activities and willingness to recommend the neighborhood to others.

"Having the support of the community can make the individual feel at home," Ferrari said. "Each of these invariably has a positive impact on personal well-being."

Throughout the country, two-thirds of respondents (67%) are happy with their neighbors, and about half (45%) feel like there's a strong sense of community in their neighborhood. Residents of Columbus are the most satisfied with their neighbors, at 80%. Houston and Nashville tied for the top spot when it comes to sense of community.

Nashville residents were also most likely to recommend the area as a good place to live, at 71%. Additionally, 69% of those who live in Minneapolis and Raleigh would recommend their city to others. 

Philadelphia ranked first for community involvement, with 70% of locals participating in community activities. Charlotte comes in a close second place, with 69% of residents satisfied with their community involvement.

What Americans love about their neighborhoods

Among the least neighborly cities in America are Chicago, Los Angeles and Jacksonville, Fla. Residents of these areas are dissatisfied with their neighbors, feel a weak sense of community and don't participate in community activities. 

Most Jacksonville residents (70%) believe there isn't a strong sense of community, and half don't take part in local activities. As a result, more than half of locals (54%) wouldn't recommend Jacksonville to others.

If you're considering moving to a neighborly city with a passionate sense of community, take the first step in the homebuying process by getting preapproved for a mortgage. You can visit Credible to compare interest rates across multiple mortgage lenders, so you can lock in the best possible terms for your situation.


How to buy a home in a new city

Despite the fact that most Americans surveyed are generally happy with their neighbors, most of them (67%) say they plan to move away from their current neighborhood. The top reason is cost of living (24%), followed by home upgrades (19%) and changes in family composition, such as having children or grown kids moving out (14%).

Top reasons for moving

But today's competitive housing market can make it difficult to buy a home. Supply chain challenges and labor shortages have resulted in record-low housing inventory, and mortgage rates are beginning to rise as the Federal Reserve plans to implement rate hikes to address inflation. If you plan on moving in 2022, follow these tips for buying a home in a seller's market:

  • Think about location. With the rise in remote work, some homebuyers may consider living further outside the city to combat rising home values. If you don't have to worry about a daily commute, you may be able to find a lower cost of living in the suburbs.
  • Be flexible with your closing date. This can give the seller more time to find a new home and get their finances in order before moving. Added flexibility with your closing date can help set your offer apart from the rest.
  • Come prepared to make an offer. Homes currently spend an average of 31 days on the market compared with 38 days a year ago, according to RE/MAX. Be prepared to make an offer on a home as soon as you tour it by getting a mortgage preapproval letter.

You can begin the mortgage preapproval process by comparing offers across multiple lenders at once on Credible's online marketplace. That way, you can start seriously shopping around for your new home.


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