The location of your current home may have been splendid when you first bought it, but the years may have worn down everything. The same could happen to communities.
Just take a look at St. Louis. Once one of the top ten largest cities in the country, the Gateway to the West’s population dropped from an impressive 856,796 to a depressing 301,048 in just a few decades.
How can you tell whether it’s time for you to pack your things and hire a U-Haul? Keep your eyes open for the following four signs, and you can change neighborhoods before property values drop even further.
1. Crime is Rising
A simple way to determine if crime is on the rise is to just pay attention to your local news station. If reports about criminality regularly appear on the news, maybe it’s time to sell your house quickly. Another way you can check the level of crime in your neighborhood is by seeing if children and women still travel through your area alone. An absence of either on your streets could indicate that they don’t feel safe due to criminal activities.
In any case, if crime levels are on the rise, its best for both the safety of your family and the value of your home if you begin preparing to move as soon as possible.
2. Traffic Conditions are Bad
Worsening traffic negatively impacts property prices. The fewer public transportation options an area has, the harder it gets for residents to go to work or have access to facilities, such as schools and hospitals.
On the other hand, heavy traffic conditions can both be a sign and the cause of a declining neighborhood. The constant noise of an overcrowded thoroughfare, combined with the noxious fumes and additional travel time, is detrimental to your neighborhood.
3. Neighbors are Disappearing
Are there fewer and fewer people on the streets? Are the parks, malls, and schools becoming more cavernous and less crowded? Worse, are “For Sale” signs popping up on every lawn like mushrooms after the rain?
Your neighbors may have taken the first opportunity to depart your particular vale of tears first. Empty houses are a sure sign that your community is headed for extinction. Abandoned homes not only drag down property values for an entire block, but they also tend to encourage criminal behavior, compounding the problem even more.
If you see “For Sale” signs beginning to crop up, it’s time to put one up of your own.
4. Stores are Closing Down
A sure sign of a neighborhood’s demise is economic deterioration. Small stores and malls may begin boarding up their windows when a community is on the verge of collapse. Declining populations will reduce sales, and rising poverty levels can mean that no one can afford consumer goods.
Alternatively, multiple shops and large-scale employers closing down can hasten or cause a neighborhood collapse, just like what happened to Detroit when the auto-industry took a nosedive. Mass lay-offs and unemployment led to stagnation and, eventually, a once-thriving community is suddenly an urban wasteland.
Don’t wait around until your house is worth so little you can’t even afford to sell it. Look for signs of neighborhood decrepitude and decay, and you might be able to leave and start fresh before it’s too late.