Why Safety is Paramount to the Real Estate Market

Written by | Updated July 24, 2014

The safer a city is, the more successful a real estate agent will be at not only making a sale in that area but at generating the best bid as well.

This may be a bold statement, but the statistics are there. A 2012 study by the Center for American Progress stated that a 10 percent reduction in homicides would lead to a 0.83 percent increase in housing values the following year. Another 2012 study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York determined that increased policing generated a 15 percent increase in formal property transactions in the area researched.

Between the general safety of neighborhoods and cities and specific safety concerns, homebuyers hold safety and security in high esteem when making their final decisions, and real estate agents have felt the impact and should be aware of an area’s safety when trying to make the sale.

How City Safety Affects Home Prices

Different cities have different safety records, and even different parts of those cities are safer than others. Unless a job or other situation relegates a person or family to a particular city or neighborhood, they likely want to find the safest area within their price range to buy a home.

Homebuyers can find neighborhood crime rates and safety ratings from various services and websites online. The FBI releases its own annual crime statistics list by state, and some of those official statistics influence the creation of The SafeWise Report’s Safest Cities guides. Crime statistics include violent crimes, such as murders, robberies and aggravated assaults, and property crimes, such as burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft, for example.

Agencies and organizations, including SafeWise, combine and analyze these statistics and others to paint a picture of the overall safety rating a particular neighborhood has to offer, which ultimately influences the prices of homes in that real estate market.

Safety in certain parts of the city or state directly affect the success and commission rate for real estate agents working in those areas. Knowing which areas of the city are safest provides a crucial selling point for real estate agents to help them close the sale and get the best price for the home in question. Real estate agents can use guides, such as The SafeWise Report’s Safest Cities guides available for various states, to have a good idea of where to get started.

The web also offers a number of resources to check the safety of a neighborhood. Use these tools we’ve found superior and put simple safety questions to rest with concrete reports of an areas safety.

Specific Safety Concerns

Besides the crime statistics of the neighborhood or city itself, homebuyers have other specific safety concerns on their mind when choosing where to buy their future home. For instance, they may wonder, does the neighborhood have a neighborhood watch program in place to assist the local police department and bring neighbors closer together?

For example, if a family with children looks into a particular neighborhood, they likely want to know what the safety statistics and ratings for local schools and playgrounds are. These include reports about any situations or disturbances that have happened at these locations, and whether or not the schools and playgrounds in the area are safe can affect their decision to buy in that particular area.

Safety concerns that are of a more individual nature may also come up in a discussion with homebuyers about the safety of a particular area. For example, have there been any accounts of domestic violence in the neighborhood? This may affect how safe residents feel around their neighbors. Do pedophiles live in the area? This is another concern for homebuyers with young children. Homebuyers often find an offender map of the area to figure out this information.

Real estate agents should be prepared to address in some way all of these specific safety concerns that homebuyers could potentially have. These concerns will affect not just neighborhood market prices but home prices and the bidding price that homebuyers offer. The higher the bid a real estate agent can secure, the better, so helping a client find the safest areas that address all of these potential concerns is paramount for continued success as an agent.

The SafeWise Report’s safest cities guides review many of these selling points and give real estate agents a good first look at the best areas to first tackle when looking for the safest cities to recommend to their clients. For many homebuyers, safety comes first, and as a result, safety should come first for the real estate market as well.
If you’re a Realtor with listings in any of the following SafeWise Safest Cities, contact elli@safewise.com for an exclusive Safest City Realtor badge to display on your website or social media. Don’t see your state? Continue to check back as we add more Safest Cities posts.

Written by Carolyn Heneghan

Carolyn is a nutrition and environmental crusader who loves using and exploring technology almost as much as she enjoys writing about it. Learn more

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