There isn’t one neighborhood that is best for everyone. The best neighborhood for you may not be the best one for someone else. Similarly, what you want as a first-time home buyer may be different than what you want when you have school-aged children, or when you are nearing retirement.

NeighborhoodScout's Lifestyle Characteristics are defined as follows:

Family Friendly: Top choice neighborhoods for families with children combine excellent public schools, safety from crime, owner-occupied single family homes, other families with children in the neighborhood, and many adults with college degrees or even advanced degrees.

First Time Home buyers: Top choice neighborhoods for first-time homebuyers combine educated neighbors (a powerful indicator of overall neighborhood quality), with above-average rates of housing appreciation, and affordability, meaning a median house value below the metro area median.

Luxury: Luxury communities are a unique combination of wealthy, educated, executives, managers, and professionals.

Vacation Home Locations: Vacation home locations are a unique combination of safety from crime, educated neighbors, excellent public schools, and an enviable mix of rental properties and owner-occupied homes, with at least 10% of the real estate seasonally occupied - all indicators of a top-quality vacation community where real estate investments are more secure.

Retirement Dream Areas: Retirement dream areas are a unique combination of peace and quiet, safety from crime, a vibrant mix of educated seniors and other age groups, and diverse housing choices.

Young, Single Professionals: Top neighborhoods for young, upwardly-mobile singles are a unique combination of young singles who are educated, employed in professional or executive positions, and preferentially rent.

College Student Friendly: Top choice neighborhoods for college students are the areas most popular with college or graduate students, combined with relative safety from crime and good walkability.