What Makes A Family-Friendly Neighbourhood?

Sutton Quantum

What Makes A Family-Friendly Neighbourhood?

When it comes to real estate, a family friendly neighbourhood is a common characteristic many homeowners are looking for, and a major selling point. But we don’t always consider what exactly it means or entails. A duplex in the suburbs with a white picket fence may fit that ideal for you and your family, but you don’t have to relocate to the suburbs as larger cities have been making themselves safer for young families to live. The common denominators for family-friendly neighbourhoods are bigger housing, amenities and resources for families, and a safe, welcoming public realm. Read on to see how to tell if a neighbourhood is right for your family!

Safety First

Arguably the most important aspect of a family-friendly neighbourhood is its safety. Look at where the home is located - is it close to highways or railroad tracks? Are there Children Crossing Signs and low speed limits? If the home you’re interested in doesn’t have a parking space, make sure there’s street parking close by and that there are no bylaws against parking on the street. Look for signs that the roads and sidewalks have been maintained and that the street is well-lit.

A great tool to use is Maclean’s Crime Severity Index, which ranks communities by various types of crime and allows you to search by city to explore crime data.

Signs of Life

The first thing to look for is whether the neighbourhood is in proximity to kid-friendly amenities like schools, daycares, parks and greenspace. Consider what kind of commute you and your child will have throughout elementary school, middle school, then high school. Use Google Earth to see what the area looks like from a birds-eye view, but don’t be afraid to drive around the neighbourhood and see for yourself. You’ll want to look for play equipment in yards like swing sets, hockey nets, and trampolines and scope the area at different times of the day to see if there are many (or any) kids playing outside. When a neighbourhood is kid-friendly, you’ll see school buses and kids walking to school in the morning and afternoon, and there will be kids out and about just before or after dinnertime.

On the other hand, if you’re looking at a neighbourhood with mostly empty-nesters or a condo building full of twenty- and thirty-something professionals, it may not be the best fit for you and your schoolchildren. Be wary of neighbourhoods with student housing near colleges or universities as well.

Hear it From the Source

One great way to see if a neighbourhood is family-friendly is to talk to those living in and around the area. Don’t be afraid to bring your kids to parks or rec centres and strike up conversations with other parents, asking them what they like and don’t like. Tell them you’re considering moving - you’ll be surprised at how frank and honest people will be. See if there are any Facebook or in-person parenting groups specific to the neighbourhood.

What's the most important aspect of a family-friendly neighbourhood to you? Are you thinking of making a move? Get in touch today!

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