What makes a relocation successful? Moving can be stressful, but it can also be a positive, life-changing experience – especially if you choose your destination from among a list of healthier communities.
If you’re considering a relocation, it’s important to choose an area that you believe can raise your daily quality of life.
Some areas offer resort-style luxury, while other communities provide affordability and value – particularly when the amenities they offer are factored into the equation.
But perhaps the best neighborhoods are the ones that help you to get even healthier than you are right now.
What follows are 7 relocation ideas that could bring more joy and robust health into your life.
As a bonus, I’ve also included 12 runners-up – places that didn’t quite make this year’s top communities but might move up the list in time for next year’s report.
Does Your Current Neighborhood Match all of Your Unique Lifestyle Needs?
Intelligent relocation means choosing your new destination from among healthier communities that you believe can help you feel more fulfilled.
Lily Tomlin once famously quipped, “the problem with being in the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat.”
Modern life offers many conveniences for which you can feel grateful – but daily life in modern times can also be a bit of a treadmill.
These days, our minds can set themselves to autopilot, and, before long, we are making key decisions from habit rather than from introspection.
The Decision of Where to Wake Each Morning
Our mission at Lifestyles & Properties is to advocate for others who seek to make bold decisions that improve their quality of life.
We help those who choose to see their daily experiences as something more than a rat race.
The decision of where to wake each morning is an important one.
Life, after all, is not as much made up of dramatic, Oscar-worthy events as it is comprised of the thousands of small, quotidian moments during which we interact with our immediate environment.
Most real estate research compares city-to-city. The most effective real estate research, however, is also hyperlocal and evaluates specific residential areas.
The right communities match your unique interests and support your physical health and emotional well-being.
Our Lifestyle Algorithm for Best Communities
Several considerations are factored into the decision to include a residential neighborhood in our list of the best places – among them are safety, air quality, noise pollution, education, nature, culture, the general attributes of the homes in the area, and our own professional and life experiences.
I have spent decades passionately researching the best neighborhoods in the world.
Are the Best Communities Expensive?
Cost was not a direct variable in our Lifestyle Algorithm, and not all of the top areas were in the luxury price range.
In fact, the grand winner (that made the very top of the list ) offers a yearly cost of living that can be far less than the most populated cities.
Additionally, many neighborhoods in our Runners-Up category are among the least expensive places to live in first-world and developing countries.
The key to filling your life with joy is to craft a lifestyle that matches your unique interests while also supporting your health.
If you happen to enjoy fresh air throughout the entire year then any of the following places might prove extremely helpful as you set out to raise the standard of health, comfort, and happiness that you experience on a typical day.
1. Relocation to the Algarve Region of Portugal
The Algarve is the southernmost region of the small country of Portugal and provides Atlantic beachside villages and warmer temperatures. In fact, this area is among the sunniest of all Southern Europe.
European charm normally comes at a high cost, but not so with life in Algarve. Plus, Portugal is friendlier to those relocating from other countries.
Perhaps best of all, Portugal’s healthcare system is reputed to be exceptional and affordable.
2. Summerlin Neighborhoods within Las Vegas, Nevada
Who doesn’t like low taxes? The state of Nevada in the US charges zero state personal income tax and, for the amenities you receive, the property taxes are also lower to comparable areas.
I deeply enjoy the serene minimalism of desert landscapes – even more than I love an ocean view. I realize not everyone feels similarly.
In the northwest area of Las Vegas, Nevada is a collection of lovely neighborhoods called Summerlin.
Desert living isn’t for everyone. It does get hot in the summer.
Even though humidity doesn’t bother me the way it does other people, I must admit that I love dry heat, which is what Summerlin provides.
Summerlin is an excellent place to live for outdoor enthusiasts. This community has more high-quality fitness parks and walking and biking trails than I’ve seen anywhere else.
Life here is generally easier, more comfortable, and more affordable than most other places of comparable quality.
3. Relocation to Malibu Communities
California ranks 6th in the US for emotional and physical well-being. Malibu Road is a specific neighborhood in the City of Malibu, which is located just north of Los Angeles in Southern California.
Malibu Road is considered among the top areas in greater Malibu because it’s not directly on Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), so there’s no need to try to back out of a garage while negotiating noisy highway traffic.
Malibu Road offers homes that are quieter and ocean-front. Houses in this neighborhood provide excellent walkability, jogging, biking, swimming, and are within stroll-able distance to the cafes, boutiques, theaters, restaurants, and stores at two nearby outdoor shopping malls – including the renowned Malibu Country Mart.
Malibu Road isn’t for everybody. Among our winners, Malibu Road is the most luxurious and has the highest price range. Homes in this neighborhood are generally priced in the range of $8,000,000 to $12,000,000 (and up).
In many ways, life in Malibu epitomizes that easy-going glamour for which Southern California is identified.
4. Kailua-Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii
Astounding luxury estate homes in a variety of desirable architectural styles grace the shores of Kailua-Kona in Hawaii. The temperature is warm and the ocean water is crystal clear.
The benefits of this of the side island compared to the east side – where Opihikao is located – are the abundance of amenities and the stunning beaches (however, the air quality is generally poorer than what is breathed at Opihikao and the traffic is more congested, too).
Even though Kona is a small town, it still has great gyms, yoga studios, a Costco, and health food stores.
The famous Ai’i Drive is a popular place to walk, run, or bike – every day of the week during morning, afternoon, and after-dinner hours the drive is filled with people exercising.
5. Relocation to Huntington Palisades in Los Angeles, California
The Huntington Palisades is a specific neighborhood within the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles that is considered especially desirable for clean ocean air, stellar views, pedestrian-friendly sidewalks, large lot sizes, and proximity to Palisades Park and the charming Palisades Village.
On average, the prices of homes in this neighborhood range from $2,500,000 to over $10,000,000.
Living in the Palisades is a luxurious Southern California experience, and living in the Huntington is among the very best of what is offered in the community.
In the context of Los Angeles, this particular neighborhood is considered high-concept and remote, because it is separate from Greater Los Angeles by a variety of canyons. Though commutable, it feels like a safe and separate haven overlooking the Pacific ocean.
6. The Hollywood Beach Communities in Oxnard, California
The Channel Islands Harbor and Hollywood Beach neighborhoods in Oxnard, California are absolutely lovely. Oxnard is the 4th happiest place to live in the US.
Potential downsides: approximately 20 days out of the year are too windy to remain outside enjoyably, and – if you move there – make sure you don’t get a place too close to the fog horn or the bull seals.
Many of the homes in the Hollywood Beach area of Oxnard, California and flooded with natural light and offer views of either the Pacific Ocean or the Channel Islands Harbor.
By the way, this is Southern California beach living at a fraction of the cost of Malibu.
7. Relocation to Opihikao on the Big Island of Hawaii
Of all the Hawaiian Islands, the Big Island of Hawaii offers, by far, the least expensive cost of daily living (the island is mostly agricultural – this means less perishable goods need to be shipped in from the mainland, which ultimately results in cost-savings on the typical yearly grocery bill).
In fact, living on the east side of the Big Island is cheaper than what it costs to live in many large American cities. (For quality neighborhoods that are even cheaper than this, see our Runners-Up category below).
Hawaii is the 3rd happiest state in the US and is #1 in life expectancy.
Opihikao is a beachside area near the small town of Pahoa – on the eastern side of the big island of Hawaii within the Puna district. It enjoys some of the best air quality in the world and has all the benefits of a tropical paradise.
There is a reason that those who visit Hawaii long to return. Hawaii is one of the few places in the world that not only lives up to its reputation but often surpasses expectations.
The Big Island has every climate zone, but also microclimates within those zones. At Opihikao it tends to rain at night – keeping the foliage lush and green – and has many more sunny days than Hilo.
Many of the luxury properties in this area include their own farms and solar power.
People are continuing to invest in Hawaii while there is still land to be had at a reasonable price. Ocean-view homes with acreage are available here starting as low as $750,000.
Pin this article to look at again later:
RUNNERS-UP: Global Neighborhoods That Almost Made Our Shortlist
There are many excellent residential communities around the globe that our Lifestyle Algorithm ranked highly but still didn’t quite make our list of healthier neighborhoods.
• San Ignacio Town in Belize is a stunningly beautiful, extremely affordable, English-speaking community in Central America; however, I’ve found that civil rights serve as an excellent litmus test for an area’s overall quality of life, and the civil rights in Belize seem to be slowly catching-up to other, more developed countries.
• Several towns within the small, South American country of Uruguay rank highly using our Lifestyle Algorithm. The quality of life is phenomenal, the weather is temperate, medical care is affordable and excellent, the country is educated, efficient and honest, and the people are warm and friendly. Uruguay ranks within the top-40 happiest countries, beating out Japan, Spain, and Italy. Because of its remote location, it’s harder to obtain specific research about these small Uruguayan towns; however, it is entirely probable that one of these communities – such as the tiny seaside Atlántida or the small riverside city of Salto – might soon make our shortlist of best neighborhoods in the world.
• Colombia is another country I’ve been hearing about. This country has changed dramatically in the last 20 years and may soon make the top list.
• Centro Historico in Mérida, Mexico offers real colonial homes in a friendly, safe, and tropical environment; however, the mosquitos are intense and the city has perhaps grown too large in the last 20 years.
• The small country of Panama has a lot going for it. It’s inexpensive and beautiful. But there are bugs, humidity, and mold. Even so, don’t be surprised if Panama moves to the top of next year’s list.
• New Zealand offers a beautiful culture and higher life quality. But for international relocation, it’s neither easy nor especially affordable.
Runners-Up within the US
• Historic Downtown in Natchez, Mississippi is a picturesque jewel shining with southern charm and antebellum architecture – and the town finally revived its recycling program; however, this community is also immediately surrounded by less-enjoyable areas that must be driven through often.
• Mosquitos and crowding are challenges being faced within the US’ beautiful Coral Gables, Florida.
• Truth or Consequences, New Mexico is a small desert town with natural hot springs. It’s missing too many other amenities (health food store; a great gym) to have made this year’s shortlist, but it’s loaded with southwest charm.
Cooler Weather Considerations:
Some otherwise spectacular communities were ultimately ranked lower because of the cold weather.
• Pleasantville, New York is a Rockwellian New England village that provides the Hudson Line for easy commuting into Manhattan; however, the property taxes seem strangely high for what limited amenities the community offers.
• The beach-side neighborhood of Point Shirley, dead center on a tiny island in Boston Harbor is delightfully walkable and just four subway stops from Boston.
• Montpelier, Vermont is so breathtakingly beautiful that it sometimes feels like a movie set instead of real life. They have rolling green hills and covered bridges. But, Montpelier also has snow eight months out of the year. If you’re a snow lover, this charming village could be for you – but for our purposes, the weather knocked it out of the list of the top areas.
Live Boldly in Healthier Communities
If you are intrigued by the idea of buying or selling a house within the best neighborhoods in the world, I invite you to phone me at 310-345-6911 and see how I might be helpful to you in your relocation – or in adding to your real estate portfolio.
This article on thriving, healthier communities is intended as entertainment and is a matter of personal opinion only. Nothing within this article is intended as investment advice.
I encourage you to always seek professional investment and legal advice and do your own due diligence, including a thorough review of any community or home.
Only you are responsible for the success or failure of any life decision or investment – including the increase or decrease in value of any real estate purchase.
- Which of these communities best aligns with who you are as a person?
- What would a typical day be like for you if you did a relocation one of these neighborhoods?
- What sorts of activities or endeavors do you imagine yourself experiencing in these top areas?
Intrigue Your Friends
Who do you know who would find this article interesting or informative? I encourage you to share it on social.
Additional Sources about Healthier Communities:
Happiest Countries – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Happiness_Report
Life Expectancy by State – http://247wallst.com/special-report/2014/12/27/states-where-people-live-longest/
Happiest Cities in US – http://247wallst.com/special-report/2015/04/07/the-happiest-and-most-miserable-cities-in-america/3/