Buying your first home is one of the most exhilarating and terrifying processes you’ll go through as an adult.
An overwhelming load of factors boils down to one big question: Where should you buy a home?
To help you tackle this huge decision, Realtor.com has done some of the heavy lifting. Their 2015 list of the hottest ZIP codes in America takes into account everything millennials want in a locale and ranks the top 10 spots.
What Makes a Neighborhood Great?
This is the big question — how do you compare one area to another? Here’s what Realtor.com considered, and how their top ZIP codes stand out.
Strong Local Economy and Jobs
For starters, job prospects are fantastic, especially for millennials aged 25-34. Unemployment is dropping faster in these areas than anywhere else in the country, and the median income for millennials in these ZIP codes is 50% higher than the national average of $54,000.
The price of homes in these areas runs the spectrum. They’re weighed against costs in surrounding areas and potential income, so you know you won’t have to hand over an arm and a leg to reap the benefits of the alluring location.
Transportation and Recreation
The list also considers access to public transportation and commute times. You shouldn’t have to fight crazy traffic between your dream job and your perfect home!
The analysts also thought about non-economic factors like proximity to shopping and restaurants.
Quality of Education
Finding the best job for you doesn’t always coincide with finding the best school district for your kids. Realtor.com addresses that concern, too — these hot ZIP codes have both.
What Are the Hottest ZIP Codes in America?
Topping the list is 02176 in Melrose, Massachusetts.
This millennial magnet puts you close to both Boston and Cambridge but is much more affordable. You get access to a hip downtown and good public transportation — and to top it off, millennials here earn a median household income of $88,000, a whopping 67% higher than elsewhere in the country.
The Columbus, Ohio, suburb of Worthington (43085) and the Littleton, Colorado, suburb of Centennial (80122) ranked second and third, respectively. Check out these attractive towns for their access to major cities without the high housing costs.
Texas topped the states, with three ZIP codes making the list. Dallas suburb Plano (75023) was ranked fourth, and the top 10 also included neighborhoods in San Antonio and Austin (a city that also happens to be one of the best homes for freelancers!)
Want to know more? See the full list at Realtor.com.
Your Turn: Did your ZIP code make the list? If you’re considering buying your first home, would you look in one of these neighborhoods?
Dana Sitar is a Staff Writer at The Penny Hoarder. She also writes about writing, work, life and love for blogs and books and sometimes things people care about, like Huffington Post and that one time she had an article published in The Onion. Follow along on Twitter @danasitar.