Coldwell Banker study taps Mount Pleasant, Ridgeville as leading places in state for suburbanites

The annual Blessing of the Fleet is a time-honored tradition in Mount Pleasant, which was named top place in thestate for suburban dwellers(Photo provided).

By JIM PARKER

The Post and Courier

A local town is the best suburb in South Carolina — and an area village fourth — but no places in the state cracked the U.S. top 10 in a new survey.

Coldwell Banker Real Estate says it perused more than 11,000 suburbs before developing its list, called the “Best Places to Live for Suburbanites.”

According to Coldwell Banker, the study “analyzes the country’s suburbs based on attributes such as access to suburban amenities” including grocery stores and banks. Other factors are proximity to good schools, commuting by car and community safety.

In the report, the agency also noted the top five locales in each state based on its scoring system. Mount Pleasant placed first and Ridgeville in Dorchester County was fourth on the South Carolina list. Two Columbia suburbs, Chapin and Lexington, were two and third respectively; while the Oak Grove area of Lexington County was fifth.

The study did not give specifics on how those five communities were chosen, other than they had the highest scores.

The agency’s nationwide top 10 are spread across the U.S., although New Jersey landed three locales on the list and Michigan had two.

They are 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.; and 10. Huntington Woods, Mich.

The top choice, Cherry Hill Village, is 10 miles south of Denver. According to Coldwell Banker, the town marked high because of features such as the Cherry Hills Land Preserve, which “secures the area’s natural beauty by maintaining community land, trails and parks.”

Also in the study, Coldwell Banker looked at trends where suburbs as a group stand out.

Among them:

• Crime is 40 percent less likely in the suburbs than the national average.

• People who live in suburbs spend four times more money to make home-cooked meals than they do going out to eat.

• Suburban residents are more likely to drive to work than the national average, 92 percent to 88 percent; but they don’t sacrifice much time in the car. While not citing the typical commute time for people in suburbs, the overall average commute is close to 25 minutes.

• About three in four suburbanites own their homes, compared with about two-thirds nationally.

• The top 10 ranked suburbs reported a dozen times as many conveniences and amenities such as gas stations as the national average, “making everyday tasks just a little bit easier.”

• Residents in the top 10 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,” says Budge Huskey, president and chief operating officer of 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,” he says.

To come up with the leading suburbs, Coldwell Banker teamed with real estate information and technology company Onboard Informatics to determine the best spots for suburbanites, considered those who “love backyard BBQs, prefer nights at home and crave relaxing days in a park or shopping at the nearby mall.” Towns with fewer than 1,000 residents were excluded from the survey.

Onboard Informatics provided information on safety, commuting and the behavior of suburbanites, analyzing 11,029 communities defined as suburbs.

Trends were developed by comparing averages of all suburbs and of the top 10 picks to U.S. localities as a whole, according to the worldwide real estate agency.

The suburban report is the second list released in the Coldwell Banker “Best Places to Live” series in partnership with Onboard Informatics. In July, the agency cited the “Best Places for Social Seekers.” Other rankings set to come out soon are for Adventurers, Leisure Lovers and Culture Cravers.

In addition, Coldwell Banker offers a lifestyle search feature on ColdwellBanker.com, which it says allows people to find homes by rating the importance of lifestyle features.

Coldwell Banker has been involved in residential and commercial real estate since its founding in 1906. The company says it is the oldest national real estate brand in the United States and today has a network of 83,000 sales agents working in 3,100 offices around the globe. Each office is independently owned and operated.

Coldwell Banker considers itself innovative, introducing the Coldwell Banker On Location YouTube channel and creating an iPad application. The company also says it’s a major player in specialty markets such as new homes, luxury residences and resort properties.

Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or jparker@postandcourier.com