Some suburban neighborhoods are not as attractive as they once were because of changing demographics and rising poverty, according to research by the Brookings Institution.

“We’re seeing a radical transformation,” says Chris Leinberger, visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution and professor of real estate at the University of Michigan.

Before home buyers pick a neighborhood, here are three basics they may want to check out:

  • Crime stats: Is there a rise in property crimes like breaking and entering and vehicle theft?
  • Are the schools still good? National sites like City-Data.com, GreatSchools.org, and SchoolDigger.com rate them and list test scores for comparison.
  • Have services been cut back? Check library hours, condition of public parks, and ask the neighbors what they think.

Source: SmartMoney.com, AnnaMaria Andriotis (12/15/2010)

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