The NY Times has come up with an amazing resource for home buyers. They have taken the 2010 census data and overlayed it onto a Google map for the whole country. Of course, you can zoom into any given neighborhood.
There are four categories of information :
- Race & Ethnicity
- Housing & Families
Within each of the four category, there are various subcategories. For example, within the income maps, there are maps that show median household income, change in median household income, households earning under $30,000. The map of Hoboken that shows mortgages consuming over 30% of income looks like this: (CLICK FOR FULL MAP EXPERIENCE)
I’m often are asked questions by my buyers like “is this a safe neighborhood?” or “what is this area like?” The Fair Housing Act limits what a realtor can say about an area. Agentsmust be very careful not to make any statement that could be construed to indicate a limitation or preference based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or handicap. While you may think you’re asking a simple question, the agent’s answer may violate the Fair Housing Act.
This new map provides some very valuable information. There are quite a few other sources of information about neighborhoods that can be found on line. Crime Reports is a site that shows where crimes have occurred and where registered sex offenders live. There is the neighborhood walkability index which is sort of silly for a place like Hoboken. Schools are always a big concern for homebuyers. There are sites where you can see how a city’s schools rank, too.
It’s often been said that knowledge is power. These are some great tools to make you more powerful when searching for a home.