Choosing between a smaller house in an affluent neighborhood, an older, bigger house in a more working-class community or a brand-new home is not easy. Buyers in this situation may want to start by examining their own priorities and asking the following questions:
- Is the surrounding neighborhood or the home itself the most important consideration?
- Is each of the neighborhoods safe?
- Are the quality of the schools an issue?
- Do any of the areas seem to attract more families with children or adult residents? And where do you fit in?
As for the return on the investment, home price appreciation is hard to predict. In the late 1980s, the more expensive move-up housing appreciated wildly. But during the recession of the last five years, smaller homes have held their value better than more expensive ones. The most important consideration should be your own personal priorities.