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Welcome to the Susquehanna Valley situated on the border of central and northeastern Pennsylvania and this area's most comprehensive real estate web site. Here you will be able to find all sorts of useful information within one easy source so take your time and enjoy!
 
We are a strong, vibrant and global real estate family. We strive every day to deliver unsurpassed market intelligence and insights, and use our strengths to help you successfully buy and sell real estate. We embrace your goals and are committed to achieving them. The award winning company and agents of CENTURY 21 Covered Bridges Realty, Inc. offer the most complete real estate service to our clientele with a truly visionary approach to high tech marketing and skills. We have served the real estate needs of Columbia, Montour, and lower Luzerne counties and surrounding areas for 34 years and look forward to providing you with the finest quality service unmatched by our competitors. Browsing through this site will allow you to explore our region along with community information, demographics, schools, medical facilities, area attractions plus much, much more. 
  
With our search the MLS, we give you direct access to all the properties available in a five county area, as well as new listings, featured properties, single property websites, and virtual tours. Upon e-mail request, we can also send you all new listings within your search criteria immediately as they become available with e-mail alerts so you won’t miss the "right" property.
 
Also available are valuable articles and information regarding buying, selling, home improvement, free reports, tax planning, as well as up to the minute news and weather from various media sources. In addition, the real estate resource center and blog are updated daily with real estate articles and answers to thousands of consumer’s questions about the buying and selling process.
 
If you are a first time buyer, experienced investor, or anything in between, you will find priceless information on our site about how to choose the right property, making an offer, negotiating, financing, mortgage rates, moving, and everything involved in making an informed decision in today’s real estate marketplace. 


In addition to all the information we have available for buyers, we also provide up-to-date information for sellers. If you are considering selling your property, this site offers dozens of articles about preparing your home for sale, choosing the right agent, appropriate pricing, effective marketing, the inspection process, and the importance of a market evaluation.
 
Thank you for visiting our online real estate website. We hope you enjoy our site and find everything you are looking for and more. We will look forward to hearing from you, so we can help you with all your real estate needs. Be sure to visit us often!

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Did a fantastic job staying on top of things and keeping me informed. Answered questions day/night. Very easy to work with. Knowledgable of every aspect of purchase. Recommend to anyone. Brandon - Bloomsburg
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Real Estate News

Latest in Housing News and Tips for Home Ownership

House Hunters Get in the Black Friday Mentality With Holiday Home-Buying

The holiday season is here, and with it the mass amounts of consumer shopping tied to gift-giving, or just personal spending at a discounted price. While terms like Black Friday and Cyber Monday are synonymous with post-Thanksgiving consumer spending sparked by widespread sales, real estate shoppers are no strangers to home-buying during the holiday season, regardless of their location.

With seasonal real estate transactions come serious buyers and sellers who are ultra-motivated to spend their money and close quickly.

“Many times, when you have clients who are looking during the holidays, they are really serious buyers. After all, most people are out shopping or preparing for the family feast,” says Nancy Lulejian Starczyk, president of the Southland Regional Association of REALTORS® in Van Nuys, Calif. “Additionally, the buyer may need to buy before the year is out, or they want to be in their new home to bring in the new year.”

Sarah Gustafson, president of the REALTOR® Association of Central Massachusetts, agrees with motivation being the underlying factor for those who stick around in a winter market.

“You have less inventory, but the inventory that you have is more motivated,” says Gustafson. “With snow and muddy boots coming through a home, sellers won’t put their home on the market unless they are motivated. And the same goes for buyers—if they are out at this time of year, they are very motivated.”

Often, the motivation stems from buyers who just want to get into a home before Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas or other holidays. And sellers want it done and closed by end of year, which is especially true for luxury or distressed properties, according to Bruce Elliot, president of the Orlando Regional REALTOR® Association.

In some instances, the added motivation of sellers and buyers leads to smoother and faster closings during the holiday season.

“Sellers who are willing to be in ‘show condition’ during the holidays are just as serious as the buyers who are looking. It’s a great time for both parties to be open to negotiating a mutually acceptable and timely sale,” says Lulejian Starczyk.

During this time of year, many markets are also dealing with tight inventory, which adds a competitive twist for buyers that have to deal with multiple offer situations. The impetus for selling can also be heightened in states that experience a noticeable drop in temperature during the winter months.

“The one thing that is really driving the market is the lack of inventory,” says Matt Akers, owner and managing broker of Rainbow Realty and president of the Lafayette Regional Association of REALTORS® in Indiana. “I think the people that are going ahead and putting their homes on the market [are] trying to get through the winter.”

Holiday homebuyers, just like the swarms of Black Friday midnight shoppers, tend to be part of the younger generations, although sources say all types of homebuyers are looking for similar things, regardless of time of year.

“Millennials now outnumber the baby boomers. And interestingly enough, they are both looking for the same features in the home. Both are looking for walkability to shopping, entertainment, restaurants, transit and medical facilities,” says Lulejian Starczyk.

Of course, this can differ by location. In Florida, for instance, the baby boomer generation is flocking toward warmer weather during the winter months in search of retirement properties.

“In some areas outside of Orlando, it’s a seasonal spike in the retirement areas. The snowbirds are coming down and their activity is picking up. Seasonal rent literally doubles,” says Elliot.

Holiday home-buying also puts consumers in a different state of mind. Akers believes reverse psychology comes into play, stating that winter buyers come up with opposing views of summer buyers to find reasons to buy and tough it out in a slow market.

Since the home-buying and -selling is happening during such a sale-centric time of year, both sides are looking for a good deal. And according to real estate professionals, that doesn’t always mean the best price.

“A great deal is when you walk away from closing and you’re thrilled,” says Akers, clarifying that today’s buyers and sellers have more than enough information to determine whether they are getting a fair deal because of the available technology and internet sources. “There are a lot of educated buyers and sellers out there. They know more than they’ve ever have,” he adds.

Lulejian Starczyk, on the other hand, says being aware of comps and working with an agent is essential to getting a good deal.

“Knowing the market and paying a ‘fair market value’ is always advisable,” she says, emphasizing that hiring a REALTOR® is the only way to ensure that consumers have the data necessary for making an informed purchasing or selling decision.

Meanwhile, Elliot believes a good deal is tied to a positive emotional response. “The emotion and the excitement is long forgotten when buying the wrong home. [Real estate] is an emotional process, and as long as it’s the right home for the client, and meets the family’s needs, there is no perfect everything.”

While homes don’t necessarily have reduced price tags on them during the holidays like electronics do on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, there is a heightened sense of urgency and an impact on a transaction’s dynamics when buying or selling during this time of year. Many agents look forward to the holiday season because of the opportunities afforded by less inventory and the added drive.

“It’s my favorite time of the year to do business because everyone is so motivated,” says Gustafson.

Liz Dominguez is RISMedia’s associate content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at ldominguez@rismedia.com.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post House Hunters Get in the Black Friday Mentality With Holiday Home-Buying appeared first on RISMedia.

Consumer Trust at Risk Amid Equifax Breach and CFPB Arbitration Rule Repeal

The real estate world lies within a network of sensitive contact information, financial records, identifying paperwork and the team of experts that keeps these things secure. So, what happens when this information isn’t properly safeguarded? Or when companies use information to take advantage of consumers? Between financial corporation scandals, like the cyber attacks on Equifax, and the recent repeal of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) arbitration rule, consumers are having trouble trusting financial institutions with their personal information.

Equifax
In September, Equifax—one of the three major consumer credit reporting agencies— announced a massive cyber breach that may have affected 143 million people in the U.S. The company is being criticized for its security practices, especially since this is the third major cybersecurity threat on Equifax since 2015.

It took Equifax nearly four months to identify the intrusion after hackers stole personal information through a simple website vulnerability. Along with 209,000 credit card numbers, hackers got their hands on Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, names, birthdates and addresses. It is one of the largest hacks on record.

Equifax hired cybersecurity firm Mandiant to perform an in-depth investigation of the cyber attack to find out how many consumers are at risk. Results are in and estimated totals for impacted individuals has risen by 2.5 million to a total of 145.5 million at risk. Even the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority is investigating the incident, as nearly 700,000 U.K consumers were also affected.

“I want to apologize again to all impacted consumers,” said Paulino do Rego Barros, Jr., CEO of Equifax, following the Mandiant results.”As this important phase of our work is now completed, we continue to take numerous steps to review and enhance our cybersecurity practices. We also continue to work closely with our internal team and outside advisors to implement and accelerate long-term security improvements.”

Impact on Real Estate
Credit plays a major role in lending and the real estate industry. The cyber attack could not only weaken consumer confidence, but may add some challenges if the hacked information is used fraudulently.

Compromised personal information can be used in a variety of damaging ways. Borrowers may have to deal with stalled or rejected loans if hackers purchase expensive items using the stolen credit card numbers. Additionally, new accounts could be opened up in borrowers’ names using their Social Security numbers. Not only are loans at risk, but hackers also have the potential to demolish credit scores via identity theft—an infinitely harder problem to fix.

Equifax’s cyber attack may also lead to a spike in illegal mortgage and refinance applications. According to National Mortgage News, the mortgage industry widely uses The Work Number for employment verification during the underwriting process. The service is also the designated third-party provider of income and employment data for Fannie Mae’s Day 1 Certainty™ program. The cyber security breach leaked the information collected by the Work Number, leaving financial institutions unsure of whether the source has been corrupted.

Overall, loan processors may delay closings to ensure that employment data has not been affected by the breach. Fannie Mae is keeping an eye on its dealings with Equifax, as well.

CFPB Arbitration Rule
The repeal of the CFPB arbitration rule comes at a time when consumers are searching for ways to protect themselves against dishonest business practices. The rule was created over the span of five years and was set to go into effect in 2019. It would have allowed millions of U.S. consumers to pool resources in class-action lawsuits against financial corporations.

The rule was widely approved by Democrats, but Senate Republicans overturned it, with Vice President Mike Pence breaking a 50-50 tie. According to supporters, the ruling would have protected consumers, and, at the same time, held financial institutions responsible for upholding ethical business practices.

“[This] vote is a giant setback for every consumer in this country,” said Richard Cordray, director of the CFPB, in a statement. “As a result, companies like Wells Fargo and Equifax remain free to break the law without fear of legal blowback from their customers.”

Those opposed believed the rule would have a negative impact on lawsuit payouts for consumers.

“This is good news for the American consumer,” said Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) in a statement.” A ban on arbitration clauses would very likely have resulted in lower reward payments for wronged customers and higher credit costs for everybody. There’s little evidence to suggest that class-action lawsuits actually stop the behavior they seek to punish, and there’s plenty of evidence to show they give the lion’s share of money to the lawyers who file them.”

As a result of the repeal, financial corporations will be able to continue using arbitration clauses in their fine print as a way to protect themselves against the courts. Since consumers will not be able to use class action lawsuits as a catalyst for changing a company’s business practices, they will have to familiarize themselves on what to look for so they don’t fall victim to malpractice.

How Consumers Can Protect Themselves
Unfortunately, data breaches and business practices are not just tied to credit reporting agencies. Everyone remembers the Target hack, various large banks like Bank of America have had their share of financial scandals and global accounting firm Deloitte recently announced that it fell victim to a cyber attack, as well.

While these companies are working toward regaining the trust of their consumers, the damage has been done. These business mistakes happen often, especially with companies that are intertwined with the real estate industry. According to a survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit and Deutsche Bank, the real estate industry features one of the lowest percentages of authentication testing. Don’t wait for the next data breach to protect yourself. Here’s what you can do to ensure you don’t fall victim to flawed business practices or cyber attacks:

Check in with Equifax. Find out, if you haven’t already, if you were exposed during the Equifax data breach.

Keep an eye on your credit. Watch out for any sudden changes in your score. If you really want to make sure you’re not at risk, sign up for a credit monitoring service.

Freeze your accounts. If you are vulnerable, go online or call the three major consumer credit reporting agencies to put a freeze on your account. This will keep hackers from checking your credit score or using your personal information. Once you are certain the risk has been taken care of, you may unfreeze your account.

Equifax: 800-349-9960
Experian: 888‑397‑3742
TransUnion: 888-909-8872.

Read the fine print. Don’t sign up for any services, even if they advocate privacy and security, without reading the terms first. Make sure your information isn’t being released to third-party vendors.

Before you apply for a loan, ask for a breakdown of all fees. Get everything in writing so you have evidence of malpractice or fee discrepancies should a conflict arise during the lending process.

Ask how your information is being protected. Any time you need to submit sensitive information that can leave you vulnerable if in the wrong hands, inquire about the company’s cyber security practices. Due diligence before forming a business relationship with any type of financial institution and being a savvy consumer is your best defense against flawed business practices.

Liz Dominguez is RISMedia’s associate content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at ldominguez@rismedia.com.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post Consumer Trust at Risk Amid Equifax Breach and CFPB Arbitration Rule Repeal appeared first on RISMedia.

All About Clean: Master Bathroom Trends

Editor’s Note: This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. See what else is cookin’ now at blog.rismedia.com:

Thumb through any home decor magazine, and you’ll see a master bathroom with a soaker or shower as the showpiece. Ta-da!

Homeowners, it turns out, are splurging to scrub up, according to the recently released U.S. Houzz Bathroom Trends Study. Ninety-one percent of homeowners in the study added a spacious shower to their master bathroom (after tearing out the tub), and many added on deluxe features, like a body sprayer or rainfall showerhead, for an improved, spa-like space.

The average cost for a large-scale remodel of a master bath (sized over 100 square feet) was $21,000, shows the study. Master bath renovations cost more in pricey markets, however. In San Francisco, Calif., for example, a major remodel averages $34,100.

Accompanying a luxury shower is a soothing gray and white color palette, according to the study. Nineteen percent of homeowners installed white countertops in the master bath, and 40 percent painted its walls white. Fourteen percent added gray cabinets, as well, to complete the tone-on-tone look. The majority of homeowners (90 percent) changed the overall style of the room, some to contemporary (25 percent), some to transitional (17 percent), and some, still, to modern (15 percent).

As with other areas at home, homeowners are also integrating technology into their master baths. Atmospheric lighting, digital controls and smart toilets are all popular upgrades, shows the study.

Bathrooms—master bathrooms, especially—are key at resale. The 2017 Cost vs. Value Report by Remodeling magazine estimates the resale value of a “mid-range” bath renovation at $12,024 (a 64.8 percent return on investment), and the resale value of an “upscale” bath renovation at $35,456 (a 59.1 percent return on investment).

Beyond a master bath overhaul, another bathroom anywhere in the home can make homeowners happier with their house, a recent report by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) showed. A bathroom earned a perfect 10 “Joy Score” in the report.

Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia’s online news editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at sdevita@rismedia.com.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post All About Clean: Master Bathroom Trends appeared first on RISMedia.

Kindred Cities: Affordable Alternatives to Your Favorite Pricey Places

America’s premier cities seem to have it all: Instagram-able park and city views, edgy bars, oodles of culture, a vibrant and weird street life, shops that sell cookie dough by the scoop. All that awesomeness comes at a steep price. The harsh reality: Buying or renting in urban meccas like New York, San Francisco or Denver is increasingly out of reach for many folks.

That’s why so many city-centric millennials, empty nesters, and everyone in between are finding themselves in a gut-wrenching double bind: Should they continue to fork over ludicrously high portions of their paycheck for housing, or throw in the towel and decamp to the suburbs?

Why not search out affordable alternatives for urban living—far cheaper cities with many of the same features that made you fall head over heels in the first place? Enter the realtor.com® data team.

We distilled the true character of some of the nation’s most expensive metros to find budget-friendly—and unexpected—counterparts around the country. Think of them as Metro Matchups™—places that link up to the nation’s urban meccas in critical ways, but where you can buy a home for less than $350,000. Less than $350k!

If you’re leaving one of the U.S.’ biggest cities, you’re probably not going to move off the grid to somewhere without a reliable Wi-Fi signal (unless that’s your thing). So we limited our ranking to the 150 largest metros. All have median home prices below $350,000, plenty of gigs, and some ethnic diversity. We factored in housing stock, occupations, weather, nightlife, and a whole host of other criteria that help define an urban center’s unique personality:*

  • Percentage of stand-alone, single-family homes, condos, townhouses, and co-ops listed on realtor.com
  • Average days of sunshine per year
  • Dominant employment sectors (finance, government, tourism)
  • Dominant occupations
  • Restaurants per capita
  • Bars and nightlife venues per capita
  • Art galleries per capita
  • Number of pro and amateur sports teams
  • Car ownership rates

Some of our Metro Matchups pair up as you might expect. Others might make your jaw drop. But hey, we’ve got the data to back it all up! So let’s get going.

San Francisco, Calif.
Median home list price: $868,000
Matchup: 
Raleigh, N.C.
Median home list price: $339,200
Matching metrics: Tech jobs, tech jobs, and did we mention tech jobs?

Let’s be real: There is only one City by the Bay! But if even thinking about your monthly rent or mortgage bill makes you reach for the anti-anxiety meds, you might want to consider Raleigh.

Hear us out. The metro has the fifth-highest concentration of high-tech jobs in the nation. And the cost of living is just a fraction of that in San Francisco—or any of the other elite urban tech hubs like Boston or Seattle.

Runner-up: New Orleans, La., with its food and nightlife

Los Angeles, Calif.
Median home list price: $699,600
Matchup: 
Savannah, Ga.
Median home list price: $249,900
Matching metrics: Movie production and beaches

Next time you’re eating butter-doused popcorn at the movies, just remember that film could very well have been made in Savannah. Yep, you heard us right: This is the Hollywood of the South. Savannah ranks No. 3 nationally in actor, producer, and director jobs.

The recent “Baywatch” movie, starring Zac Efron and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, was filmed in the Gothic Southern city, as was Robert De Niro’s “Dirty Grandpa.” Please don’t blame Savannah for those! Let’s focus instead on Ben Affleck’s “Live by Night” or Channing Tatum’s “Magic Mike XXL.” Or “Forrest Gump”!

But it wouldn’t be truly Hollywood-esque without a good, old-fashioned celebrity arrest. “Transformers” actor Shia LaBeouf was booked in Savannah for disorderly conduct and public intoxication while on a production break this summer.

The city’s popularity with filmmakers is in part thanks to a tax credit the state began offering in 2008. From 2010 to 2014, filmmakers spent $58 million to produce movies in Savannah, says Trip Tollison, president and CEO of the Savannah Economic Development Authority. They spent $60 million in 2016 alone.

If you plan to relocate, don’t forget to pack your sunscreen. Savannah has some fantastic beaches at Tybee Island.

Runner-up: Las Vegas, Nev., with a star-studded nightlife that never stops

Honolulu, Hawaii
Median home list price: $695,000
Matchup: 
Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Median home list price: $235,000
Matching metrics: Gorgeous beaches, scads of tourism jobs

Want to escape the high cost of the 50th state but keep your swim trunks handy?

Myrtle Beach was named one of the top 25 favorite beach towns of 2016 by Travel & Leisure and one of the best family beach vacation spots by U.S. News and World Report. It has a beautiful 60-mile string of beaches dotted with hotels, mini golf courses, and boardwalks.

You might miss the luaus, the sublime surfing, and the soy-and-sesame-bathed raw fish in poke bowls, nut you’ll have plenty to do here, and lots more money to do it with. That’s probably why Myrtle Beach welcomed more than 18 million visitors over the summer of 2016.

And if you’re a business owner, you know that vacationers keep the lights on. Myrtle Beach has tons of tourists, with holes burning in their wallets. They’re well-advised to hold on tight to those wallets, as the city is known to have a higher-than-average crime rate. But things are getting better, and the place is growing.

Runner-up: Orlando Fla., with off-the-charts tourism, Disney-style

Denver, Colo.
Median home list price: $499,500
Matchup:
 Kansas City, Mo.
Median home list price: $245,800
Matching metrics: Hipster scenes and car culture

Kansas City is no longer a stodgy Midwestern metropolis. The city’s downtown has been transformed over the last few years, and now it’s home to about 20 breweries. Heck, Kansas City was even the first market to get Google Fiber’s broadband service in 2012, which gave its small tech sector a turbo boost.

Looking for a hipper-than-thou bar? Head out to the Crossroads neighborhood, where you’ll find the Manifesto, a historic watering hole dating to Prohibition that’s now known for its wildly creative mixology. Or try Swordfish Tom’s, named after singer-songwriter Tom Waits.

Now that you have a few cocktails in you, head over to the First Fridays outdoor event to enjoy street music, sidewalk vendors, food trucks, and art exhibits.

Denver refugees don’t have to give up the great outdoors, either. They can hike the Little Blue Trace Trail at Fleming Park, which runs alongside the Little Blue River.

When you’re packing for the move to Kansas City, just make sure to leave behind any uneaten brownies. (Wink, wink.)

Runner-up: Omaha, Neb., with its numerous jobs in finance

Boston, Mass.
Median home list price: $489,500
Matchup: 
Philadelphia, Pa.
Median home list price: $249,400
Matching metrics: Historic brownstones, tech and finance gigs galore

We’ve got bad news for Bostonians: It doesn’t matter how many healthy dishes New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady prepares from his fancy new cookbook, the man can’t play forever. Don’t worry: You’ll get some brotherly love where you’re going.

So what if Philadelphia doesn’t win the Super Bowl every year? It’s a darned good sports city in its own right. Indeed, the city is sixth in the nation for pro sports championships, four spots behind Boston. Plus, there’s nothing like eating a Philly cheesesteak at a Phillies game.

Built in a similar colonial era, Philadelphia has housing and city architecture that many a Bostonian would appreciate. The Philadelphia cityscape is a mix of Georgian, Greek Revival, and Victorian architecture.

Rest assured, you wouldn’t be the first Bostonian to leave for Philadelphia. Mr. Hundred-Dollar Bill himself Benjamin Franklin did the same almost 300 years ago.

Runner-up: Chicago, Ill., another city that goes gaga over its sports franchises and St. Paddy’s Day parades

Seattle, Wash.
Median home list price: $485,000
Matchup:
 Minneapolis, Minn.
Median home list price: $311,300
Matching metrics: No shortage of condos, tech jobs, and music legends

Seattle had Kurt Cobain. Minneapolis had Prince. And while these luminaries are gone, their songs live on, just like each city’s music scene.

Live-music aficionados can check out the Soundset Festival in Minneapolis, which draws more than 35,000 fans each year. This year, the event featured performances from Ty Dolla $ign, Travis Scott and Gucci Mane.

And that’s not where the similarities between the cities end. Minneapolis is a bona fide start-up Eden.

Runner-up: Philadelphia, Pa., with its aerospace industry and fondness for damn good coffee

New York, N.Y.
Median home list price: $472,500
Matchup: 
Chicago, Ill.
Median home list price: $279,700
Matching metrics: Unbeatable nightlife, financial capitals, pizza obsession

You’d think a city with more than 8 million inhabitants crammed into tiny apartments paying astronomical rents might have lots of folks eager to move. But if they did, they’d be giving up so much: Central Park, daily celebrity sightings, 77 Michelin-starred restaurants…also 24-hour subways that keep passengers waiting for ungodly stretches, cat-sized rats, ill-tempered hot dog vendors. OK, maybe there is a reason to leave the Apple. But once you’ve tasted it, where else can you go?

There really is only one more affordable city that could hope to do the city justice: Chicago.

Even the most stubborn New Yorker might be won over by Chitown. The Chicago skyline is gorgeous, with Willis Tower doing a fine Empire State Building impression. Once a laggard in the foodie department, it’s now home to some of the best America has to offer. They’re just cheaper. And yes, the city also has its own public transportation system. (Sorry, it, too, tends to keep you waiting.)

The two cities are also known for their mob roots. New York had the Five Families. Chicago had the Chicago Outfit and Al Capone. You decide if this is a good thing.

Runner-up: Baltimore, Md., a port city with lots of condos

Portland, Ore.
Median home list price: $450,000
Matchup: 
Columbus, Ohio
Median home list price: $241,300
Matchup metrics: Hipster havens

 The warning signs were there: man buns, artisanal pickle shops, and rooftop bars. So the Buckeye State shouldn’t be too surprised that hipsters have invaded their state capital. Yep, Columbus has even fallen for avocado toast.

Nearly 20 craft breweries have opened in Columbus over the past five years. Want a taste? Attend the Columbus Ale Trail, where you’ll try suds from the 37 total breweries located in the city.

Runner-up: Madison, Wis., a college town with a funky food and nightlife scene

Washington, D.C.
Median home list price: $429,500
Matchup:
 Trenton, N.J.
Median home list price: $290,000
Matchup metrics: Government jobs rule the roost

On a weekend walk through the nation’s capital, you’ll see the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. They’re beautiful. But are they worth the high price tag you’ll pay each month in rent or for your mortgage? Hey, it’s not easy on many government salaries!

That’s why folks may want to consider Trenton. We know it’s a stretch. But the city has government and nonprofit jobs to spare: Nearly one in three jobs here is in the government sector. It may not have D.C.’s museums or a “House of Cards” power scene, but does the nation’s capital have an annual Pork Roll Festival? (We honestly don’t know.)

Keep in mind it’s only 26 minutes to Philadelphia, about an hour from New York…and if you get really homesick, two hours from D.C. on Amtrak.

Runner-up: Tallahassee, Fla., an even more unlikely government-driven economy

Miami, Fla.
Median home list price: $387,500
Matchup: 
Phoenix, Ariz.
Median home list price: $317,200
Matchup metric: Sunshine and baby boomers baking in it

Hurricanes are becoming more frequent—and the cost of flood insurance isn’t going down, so maybe you’re a little less adamant about keeping your beachfront abode. If that’s the case, give Phoenix a look.

Despite lots of development, Phoenix still has some reasonably priced cribs. And nearby Scottsdale has grown its tourism in recent years and is trying to market itself as a party-seekers’ destination.

Another perk? Phoenix has much lower humidity. Hair problems solved.

Runner-up: Virginia Beach, Va., with its oceanside fun

*Data sources: realtor.com, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Census Bureau, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Nielsen, Google Trends, Yelp.com

A version of this article originally appeared on realtor.com®.

 For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post Kindred Cities: Affordable Alternatives to Your Favorite Pricey Places appeared first on RISMedia.

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