A rose by any other name may smell as sweet, but a neighborhood by any other name may not. That’s because a neighborhood name becomes associated with the wealth and income of the people who live there. Homebuyers may use a neighborhood name as a signal of the area’s value and prestige.
It’s no accident, for example, that 66 neighborhoods in Florida include the word “beach” in their name. A beach implies value. In California the most often used word (60) in a neighborhood name is “valley.” Who would have guessed that?
The two most commonly used words in neighborhood names across the entire United States are “lake” (605) and “city” (599). However the word “city,” unfortunately, does not imply value and “lake” falls just above average in both home value and household income.
Researchers at Porch.com combed through U.S. Census Bureau data for all Census Designated Places in the country. These are defined as a concentration of population used for statistical purposes only and not legally incorporated. Using this data, the researchers teased out the average income and average home value for the words in a neighborhood’s name.
Which words are linked to neighborhoods with the average highest household incomes? For comparison, the national average income is right around $59,000. Here are Porch.com’s top 10 names along with average income in the neighborhood.
- Hills: $89,976
- Island: $87,527
- Village: $77,087
- Oaks: $72,492
- Acres: $71,485
- Highland: $71,072
- Canyon: $69,910
- Beach: $69,728
- Forest: $69,438
- Bay: $69,049
The median U.S. home price in 2017 was $200,000 according to Porch.com. Here are their top 10 neighborhood names along with the average highest home value.
- Island: $440,386
- Beach: $423,325
- Harbor: $416,332
- Hills: $396,472
- Village: $341,997
- Canyon: $334,292
- Cove: $310,438
- Bay: $301,066
- San: $277,058
- Gardens: $275,947
The high-value list is dominated by water-related words: island, beach, harbor, cove, bay–half the list. What does that mean for a buyer? Porch.com project manager Angela Skane told Realtor.com:
[Names] do influence whether or not an area is the kind of place buyers would like to buy into. A lot of these names are common in movies and TV shows. After all, there was an entire show about rich kids called ‘The Hills.’
What names carry the least cachet? The word associated with the lowest average home value is “fort” ($109,116), followed by “junction” ($115,268), and “rock” ($115,395).
The word associated with neighborhoods with the lowest household income is “los” ($29,757) followed by “university” ($40,054), and “springs” ($41,066).
Porch.com also lists the most common names for each state and breaks down the data in other ways. Visit the website for the all the details and full methodology.