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Coldwell Banker Real Estate Analyzes 11,000 Suburbs for New Ranking: Best Places to Live for Suburbanites

PARSIPPANY, NJ--(Marketwire - Sep 25, 2012) - Suburbs make up the fabric of America, offering a little more space (and a lot more peace and quiet) for people who prefer backyard barbecues and soccer games over the hustle and bustle of city-life. As part of its five-part "Best Places to Live" series, Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC partnered with Onboard Informatics to rank the top places for Suburbanites and analyze trends based on data from more than 11,000 suburban areas.

The data revealed a glimpse into life in the suburbs, where many people own their homes (75 percent), drive to work (92 percent) and spend approximately four times as much to prepare meals at home than go out to eat.

Cherry Hills Village, Colo., approximately 10 miles south of downtown Denver, rank as the No. 1 Best Place for Suburbanites, receiving the highest score in the nation with a nearly 100% home ownership rate and less than 20 minute average commute. The following communities make up the Top 10 "Best Places to Live for Suburbanites," scoring high on a range of attributes, such as access to suburban amenities (grocery stores, banks, etc.), proximity to good schools, commuting by car and community safety:

1. Cherry Hills Village, Colo.

2. Clyde Hill, Wash.

3. Haworth, N.J.

4. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.

5. Wolf Trap, Va.

6. Ho-Ho-Kus, N.J.  

7. Indian Hills, Ky.  

8. East Grand Rapids, Mich.

9. Rossmoor, Calif.

10. Huntington Woods, Mich.

Suburban Trends Across the United States
According to data from Onboard Informatics, Coldwell Banker Real Estate identified the following trends among the 11,000 suburban communities included in the ranking:

  • Suburbs Rank High in Safety: Crime is 40 percent less likely in the suburbs than the national average, and 68 percent less likely in the Top 10.
  • Suburbanites Eat In More: People who live in suburbs spend approximately four times more money to make home cooked meals than they do going out to eat. 
  • More Suburbanites Drive to Work, but the Commute is Not So Bad: While more likely to drive to work than the national average (92 percent vs. 88 percent), Suburbanites don't sacrifice much time in the car. The average commute time is just shy of 25 minutes for all Americans.
  • More Suburbanites are Homeowners: Approximately 75 percent of people in the suburbs own their homes, compared to 67 percent of people nationally. In the Top 10 ranked suburbs, 94 percent own their homes.
  • Errands Are Easier: The Top 10 suburbs have approximately 12 times as many conveniences and amenities as the national average, such as gas stations, grocery stores and banks, making everyday tasks just a little bit easier.
  • Weekends Dedicated to DIY: Residents in the Top 10 ranked suburbs are twice as likely as the national average to engage in home improvement and decoration projects.

"Suburban communities continue to appeal to people of all ages, especially as many suburbs are seeing more diversity and re-energized downtown communities," said Budge Huskey, president and chief operating officer, Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. "Residents can have it all in many of these suburbs; great access to recreational centers, schools and a feeling of community, while only being a short distance to the city." 

What Makes the Top 10 Suburbs So Special
From easy commutes to gorgeous landscapes, the Top 10 Places to Live for Suburbanites represent the epitome of suburban living:

1. Cherry Hills Village, Colo. (Suburb of Denver)
Score: 1,000
Cherry Hills Village, the No. 1 place for suburbanites, is a residential oasis of mostly single-family homes. The Cherry Hills Land Preserve secures the area's natural beauty by maintaining community land, trails and parks, creating a relaxing escape from nearby downtown Denver. From sipping hot cocoa at the annual tree lighting, to hiking trails in the summer, to taking in spectacular views of the Rocky Mountains, residents have much to love about their neighborhood. 

2. Clyde Hill, Wash. (Suburb of Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue):
Score: 972.57
This quaint suburb of Seattle took the No. 2 spot for suburbanites thanks to the high percentage of single family homes, options for nearby public and private schools and its close proximity to downtown. Clyde Hill also offers gorgeous views of the Seattle skyline, Mount Rainier and Lake Washington. Enjoying a walk along green, tree-lined streets with a view of the Cascades and having the ability to commute to downtown Seattle in minutes, makes Clyde Hill the perfect place for those who crave the best of suburban living.

3. Haworth, N.J. (Suburb of New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island)  
Score: 972.36
Started as a farming community in pre-revolutionary times, this New Jersey suburb is within commuting distance from New York City. Alongside the Oradell Reservoir, Haworth has several golf courses and seasonal farmers markets. Several celebrities have once called Haworth home, including actress Brooke Shields and Carl Hubbell, a Hall of Fame pitcher for the New York Giants.

4. Englewood Cliffs, N.J. (Suburb of New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island)
Score: 970.93
Just one mile north of the George Washington Bridge and 9 miles from downtown New York City, Englewood has the comforts of suburbia with access to the best restaurants and world class shopping of the Big Apple. In addition to its many residents, several large companies, including CNBC and Unilever, call Englewood home.

5. Wolf Trap, Va. (Suburb of Washington-Arlington-Alexandria)
Score: 969.37
A suburb of Fairfax County, Wolf Trap is less than 20 miles from Washington D.C. Families and friends can enjoy nature and a concert at The Wolf Trap National Park for Performing Arts, which features a wide-range of performances including opera, theatre and dance. Life in Wolf Trap offers the comfort of suburbia - without being too far from the Nation's Capital.

6. Ho-Ho-Kus, N.J. (Suburb of New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island)  
Score: 967.14
The history of Ho-Ho-Kus goes back to the 1600s', giving it a charm apparent in name and architecture. Not only has this suburb maintained its historical roots, The National Arbor Day Foundation named it "Tree City USA," for its commitment to maintaining surrounding forests. Home to The Hermitage, a National Historic Landmark and museum that briefly housed George Washington during the Revolutionary War, this peaceful suburb has great parks and a small but bustling downtown.

7. Indian Hills, Ky. (Suburb of Louisville/Jefferson County)
Score: 963.75
Considered one of the most prosperous suburbs of Louisville since the mid 20th-century, Indian Hills comes complete with picturesque rolling hills and well-manicured estates. Along the Ohio River, residents enjoy community events such as an annual Independence Day Parade and an Oktoberfest celebration. Indian Hills is only 7 miles from downtown Louisville, making it an easy commute from the largest city in Kentucky.

8. East Grand Rapids, Mich. (Suburb of Grand Rapids)
Score: 963.28
This suburb of Grand Rapids is small, but don't let size fool you. Founded in the 1830's, this peaceful town wrapped around Reeds Lake has a rich history. East Grand Rapids is the hometown of Gerald R. Ford, the 38th president of the United States and Chris Van Allsburg, the American author and illustrator of The Polar Express and Jumanji. In addition to beautiful homes, residents enjoy boating and swimming in the lake.

9. Rossmoor, Calif. (Suburb of Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana)
Score: 962.03
For those attracted to a laid-back Californian way of life but still want the benefits of a classic suburb, Rossmoor is the perfect combination. Living in Orange County means being only minutes from the coast and a short drive from Los Angeles. Families here also enjoy the Rossmoor Park Community Center and local shopping at the Rossmoor Shopping Village.

10. Huntington Woods, Mich. (Suburb of Detroit-Warren-Livonia)
Score: 961.65
The original design of this Detroit suburb was modeled after Huntingdon, England, which still shows the architecture of its historic homes. Huntington Woods, also known as the "City of Homes," has many clubs and organizations for residents to become more involved, from Boy Scouts to The Garden Club. Other unique features include the Rackham Golf Course, a public course designed by legendary course designer Donald Ross, and the Detroit Zoo.

This is the second list released in the Coldwell Banker "Best Places to Live" five-part series in partnership with Onboard Informatics, ranking the top places based on lifestyle. In July 2012 Coldwell Banker identified the "Best Places for Social Seekers," and will be releasing rankings for Adventurers, Leisure Lovers and Culture Cravers in the coming months. In addition to this series, Coldwell Banker also offers a Lifestyle Search feature on ColdwellBanker.com, which allows people to find homes by rating the importance of lifestyle characteristics.

The following details the Top 5 Best Places to Live for Suburbanites by state, according to an analysis from Coldwell Banker Real Estate and OnBoard Informatics:

State Rank Score   City/Town
ALABAMA 1 947.68   Meadowbrook
2 927.23   Mountain Brook
3 925.33   Indian Springs Village
4 891.67   Helena
5 889.02   Vestavia Hills
ALASKA Places in Alaska were not ranked because they fell below the population requirement of 1,000 for the Suburbanites ranking.
ARIZONA 1 925.27   Paradise Valley
2 887.58   Tanque Verde
3 882.49   Litchfield Park
4 881.62   Oro Valley
5 874.69   Corona de Tucson
ARKANSAS 1 881.75   Prairie Creek
2 876.17   Bella Vista
3 845.29   Maumelle
4 841.35   Greenwood
5 833.60   Bryant
CALIFORNIA 1 962.03   Rossmoor
2 942.51   Coto de Caza
3 938.76   Villa Park
4 937.71   Hillsborough
5 927.89   Lucas Valley-Marinwood
COLORADO 1 1,000.00   Cherry Hills Village
2 923.79   Genesee
3 919.90   Castle Pines North
4 914.34   Woodmoor
5 912.75   Gleneagle
CONNECTICUT 1 936.88   Easton
2 924.48   Weston
3 912.48   Redding
4 912.14   Wilton
5 908.93   Bethany
DELAWARE 1 951.32   North Star
2 912.78   Hockessin
3 866.59   Highland Acres
4 862.37   Pike Creek
5 856.57   Bethany Beach
WASHINGTON DC 1 696.15   Washington
FLORIDA 1 922.70   Windermere
2 908.48   Cooper City
3 908.11   Heathrow
4 906.24   Bloomingdale
5 904.04   Parkland
GEORGIA 1 924.33   Johns Creek
2 922.38   Lookout Mountain
3 911.59   Peachtree City
4 908.66   Berkeley Lake
5 904.69   Evans
HAWAII 1 868.93   Maunawili
2 850.94   Mililani Town
3 830.87   East Honolulu
4 827.19   Mililani Mauka
5 818.55   Heeia
IDAHO 1 879.23   Dalton Gardens
2 877.43   Sugar City
3 837.36   Eagle
4 826.02   Spirit Lake
5 819.00   Ucon
ILLINOIS 1 925.55   Inverness
2 924.52   Lincolnshire
3 923.37   Kildeer
4 922.82   Deerfield
5 919.02   Western Springs
INDIANA 1 916.04   Granger
2 906.77   Ogden Dunes
3 905.20   Carmel
4 904.42   Lakes of the Four Seasons
5 895.22   Zionsville
IOWA 1 914.17   Robins
2 897.16   University Heights
3 894.30   Waukee
4 882.21   Palo
5 879.40   Hudson
KANSAS 1 955.35   Mission Hills
2 916.96   Leawood
3 901.75   Prairie Village
4 901.20   Westwood
5 898.65   Fairway
KENTUCKY 1 963.75   Indian Hills
2 914.04   Hurstbourne
3 893.88   Northfield
4 891.58   Anchorage
5 890.66   Windy Hills
LOUISIANA 1 892.82   Shenandoah
2 881.65   Oak Hills Place
3 868.83   Prairieville
4 858.28   Central
5 855.50   Zachary
MAINE 1 927.93   Cumberland
2 905.73   Cape Elizabeth
3 905.25   Falmouth
4 872.52   Yarmouth
5 869.73   Scarborough
MARYLAND 1 954.37   South Kensington
2 943.96   Darnestown
3 931.85   Potomac
4 931.61   North Potomac
5 922.26   Hampton
MASSACHUSETTS 1 950.80   Carlisle
2 949.59   Sudbury
3 948.49   Sherborn
4 947.28   Dover
5 941.78   Westwood
MICHIGAN 1 963.28   East Grand Rapids
2 961.65   Huntington Woods
3 949.15   Orchard Lake Village
4 938.98   Grosse Pointe Farms
5 934.00   Beverly Hills
MINNESOTA 1 943.35   Dellwood
2 926.40   Orono
3 924.00   Mendota Heights
4 920.98   Shorewood
5 918.40   North Oaks
MISSISSIPPI 1 930.79   Madison
2 865.71   Olive Branch
3 863.72   Brandon
4 862.60   Diamondhead
5 862.30   Hernando
MISSOURI 1 949.71   Glendale
2 946.77   Ladue
3 929.49   Warson Woods
4 928.37   Clarkson Valley
5 919.99   Weatherby Lake
MONTANA 1 837.91   Frenchtown
2 822.12   Clinton
3 815.60   Lockwood
4 813.35   Lolo
5 811.24   Sun Prairie
NEBRASKA 1 875.57   Arlington
2 872.94   Papillion
3 868.29   Yutan
4 867.98   Gretna
5 860.74   Bennington
NEVADA 1 854.14   Spanish Springs
2 847.10   Johnson Lane
3 823.75   Summerlin South
4 819.26   Minden
5 817.61   Mogul
NEW HAMPSHIRE 1 913.13   Bow
2 910.83   Windham
3 904.62   Bedford
4 903.28   Amherst
5 902.86   Brookline
NEW JERSEY 1 972.36   Haworth
2 970.93   Englewood Cliffs
3 967.14   Ho-Ho-Kus
4 960.70   Upper Saddle River
5 955.49   Harrington Park
NEW MEXICO 1 953.48   White Rock
2 915.73   Eldorado at Santa Fe
3 908.52   Los Alamos
4 892.76   San Antonito
5 887.90   Sandia Heights
NEW YORK 1 891.18   North Salem
2 886.95   Somers
3 885.57   Bethlehem
4 884.59   Clarence
5 878.33   Lewisboro
NORTH CAROLINA 1 908.99   Marvin
2 899.53   Fairview
3 896.13   Avery Creek
4 892.97   Pumpkin Center
5 891.39   Bethlehem
NORTH DAKOTA 1 835.85   Lincoln
2 833.53   Larimore
3 832.69   West Fargo
4 831.34   Horace
5 818.41   Casselton
OHIO 1 930.52   Dry Run
2 908.90   Cherry Grove
3 902.83   Oakwood
4 898.95   South Russell
5 896.61   Ottawa Hills
OKLAHOMA 1 863.29   Perkins
2 861.80   Mustang
3 860.46   Jenks
4 855.45   Okarche
5 848.63   Nichols Hills
OREGON 1 890.24   West Haven-Sylvan
2 884.33   Damascus
3 882.75   Garden Home-Whitford
4 867.51   Columbia City
5 864.95   West Linn
PENNSYLVANIA 1 898.01   Belfast
2 891.77   Lower Allen
3 890.93   Stormstown
4 888.21   McMurray
5 884.22   Economy
RHODE ISLAND 1 855.91   Barrington
2 843.66   East Greenwich
3 823.42   Portsmouth
4 822.16   Jamestown
5 818.57   Smithfield
SOUTH CAROLINA 1 871.93   Mount Pleasant
2 863.15   Chapin
3 861.83   Lexington
4 856.04   Ridgeville
5 855.67   Oak Grove
SOUTH DAKOTA 1 856.40   Crooks
2 845.69   Brandon
3 825.58   Harrisburg
4 818.83   Dakota Dunes
5 818.75   Shindler
TENNESSEE 1 932.44   Nolensville
2 913.34   Brentwood
3 900.63   Signal Mountain
4 891.37   Thompson's Station
5 890.42   Farragut
TEXAS 1 932.32   Spring Valley Village
2 926.10   Pecan Plantation
3 916.04   Sunnyvale
4 909.49   Sienna Plantation
5 905.99   Palm Valley
UTAH 1 905.17   Alpine
2 900.11   Highland
3 893.58   Cedar Hills
4 864.74   Mountain Green
5 858.12   Riverton
VERMONT 1 922.05   Shelburne
2 901.31   Williston
3 868.20   Essex
4 856.45   South Burlington
5 856.23   Colchester
VIRGINIA 1 969.37   Wolf Trap
2 958.65   Great Falls
3 942.15   McLean
4 940.36   Franklin Farm
5 935.83   Mantua
WASHINGTON 1 972.57   Clyde Hill
2 941.41   Medina
3 925.31   Cottage Lake
4 919.40   Yarrow Point
5 904.46   Woodway
WEST VIRGINIA 1 889.22   Cheat Lake
2 854.46   Teays Valley
3 847.69   Pinch
4 847.68   Bethlehem
5 847.24   Bridgeport
WISCONSIN 1 945.71   Bayside
2 943.21   Shorewood Hills
3 931.79   Mequon
4 927.68   River Hills
5 923.58   Whitefish Bay
WYOMING 1 790.29   Bar Nunn
2 779.91   South Greeley
3 758.87   Glenrock
4 744.58   Fox Farm-College
5 739.49   Evansville

Methodology - Suburbanites Ranking

Coldwell Banker partnered with Onboard Informatics, a leading provider of trusted real estate information and technology solutions, to identify the Coldwell Banker Real Estate Best Places to Live for "Suburbanites" (those who love backyard BBQs, prefer nights at home and crave relaxing days in a park, or shopping at the nearby mall). The areas analyzed are all U.S. Census designated places, incorporated places and county subdivisions, which include minor civil divisions and census county divisions (all as defined by the United States Census Bureau). Towns with fewer than 1,000 residents were excluded from the Suburbanites ranking.

*Data regarding safety, commuting and the behavior of suburbanites was provided by Onboard Informatics and based on the analysis of 11,029 communities defined as suburbs. National data was also provided by Onboard Informatics. Trends were identified by comparing the average of all suburbs and the average of the top 10 to the national average values for selected attributes.

**Onboard Informatics system uses Ranks to determine the National Top 10 list, Top 100 Places list and Top 50 places per state lists. Each attribute for each place is assigned a value (number). In concept, scores and ranks are created by adding up the values for all attributes for a place that are relevant to the category and then ranking / sorting them. In practice, in order to assure that each attribute contributes to the rolled up category scores and ranks correctly, additional calculations are performed as follows:

  • Scores: Base scores are derived from the raw attribute data by normalizing to a 0 - 1,000 point scale. This is required as the raw data does not display [WU1] uniformity of scale (one attribute may have values between 0 and 100, another between 57 and 34,212, etc.). Once normalized, each attribute score is multiplied by a weighting factor between 1 and 5. Weighting factors were assigned by Onboard and approved by Coldwell Banker based on relevance and importance of the attribute to the category. This results in a potential score between 0 and 5,000 for a given attribute.
  • All attribute scores for a category are then summed to create a category score for each place. These raw category scores are then normalized again to a 0 - 1,000 scale for display.
  • Ranks: Ranking is simply the ordering of places by their category score. Sort is in descending order such that the place with the largest category score receives a rank = 1. Unlike scores, ranks are calculated by top city/ towns (1-100) and within each state (1-50).

About Coldwell Banker®

Since 1906, the Coldwell Banker® organization has been a premier provider of full-service residential and commercial real estate. Coldwell Banker is the oldest national real estate brand in the United States and today has a network of approximately 83,000 sales agents working in approximately 3,100 offices in 50 countries and territories. The Coldwell Banker brand is known for creating innovative consumer services as recently seen by being the first national real estate brand to create an iPad application and the first to fully harness the power of video in real estate listings, news and information through its Coldwell Banker On Location(SM) YouTube channel. The Coldwell Banker system is a leader in specialty markets such as resort, new homes and luxury properties through its Coldwell Banker Previews International® marketing program. Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC fully supports the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act. Each office is independently owned and operated.