The 10 Hottest Neighborhoods in 2013

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1. South Park | L.A. Live
> City: Los Angeles, Calif.
> Median price per foot, 2012: $476
> Percent change since 2011: 26%

On paper alone, the South Park area of Los Angeles does not seem like it’s about to stage a comeback. According to stats provided by the Los Angeles Times, it is one of the densest and poorer neighborhoods of L.A. But the adjacent “L.A. Live” commercial development, anchored by the Staples Center, is turning things around quickly. A marketing campaign for South Park states that “over 30 restaurants, nightclubs and entertainment locations are within a 10-minute walk.”

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2. Stonestown | Lake Merced
> City: San Francisco, Calif.
> Median price per foot, 2012: $422
> Percent change since 2011: 9%

In the southwest corner of San Francisco, tucked between the Pacific Ocean, a freshwater Lake Merced and the local zoo, sits a windswept series of residential developments on land that was once simply sand dunes. There’s a stately 1950s suburban look to much of the housing in the neighborhood, but young families may be drawn to the area’s easy access to public transportation, shopping and some of the city’s better public schools. Local data shows that residents are paying more to live in Stonestown than in many other parts of the city.

3. Lawton Park
> City: Seattle, Wash.
> Median price per foot, 2012: $276
> Percent change since 2011: 14%

Lovely Lawton Park is a high income, low density gathering of 30-somethings who seem eager to live in this charming area where many of the homes were built before their parents were born. There were fewer homes for sale in this neighborhood in 2012 than there were in 2011, according to real estate listing aggregator Redfin, and the inventory constraint helped buoy prices. The average home in this neighborhood sold for $480,000 in November, according to Redfin.

4. Crown Heights
> City: New York, N.Y.
> Median price per foot, 2012: $272
> Percent change since 2011: 26%

Crown Heights is considered an up-and-coming Brooklyn neighborhood, with a signature street fair. But it has a ways to go before making a strong economic impact on the borough. Consider that both the median income and the median rents paid by residents of this 1.9 square mile area were below borough-wide averages. With a standard house going for $595,000, according to Trulia, residential prices are attractive by New York standards.

5. Dorchester
> City: Boston, Mass.
> Median price per foot, 2012: $205
> Percent change since 2011: 18%

Few neighborhoods in America can trace their roots to the 1600s or claim the distinction of holding the first town meeting in this country. This somewhat densely populated part of Boston has had its economic ups and downs over the centuries and now solidly lags the rest of the city in household income. Still, rents are low in ‘Dot,’ as the area is known, and there’s easy access to public transportation throughout the area. At $289,482 for an average listed home, according to Trulia, it’s easy to see why interest is building in living in this community.