Plaza Midwood, NoDa

For an in-town neighborhood, there are a large variety of homes here, from the grand to the serious fixer-upper. It’s hard to find a deal anymore, but those priced out of Elizabeth can find a reasonable alternative in Plaza Midwood, although some feel it’s overrated. Up in NoDa, there is a ton of condo development, but the neighborhood still has an urban-pioneer feel to it.

PROS There’s a good mix of new construction, condos, large older homes, and small “projects.” It’s close to uptown and Dilworth. Some people like the edgy feel. NoDa still has some of its artsiness and mill-village charm.

CONS The schools aren’t so great, which explains why many young couples leave the area when their kids hit school age. There is still some blight here and there, and compared to Dilworth and Myers Park, there is a lack of upscale shopping and dining.

VERDICT There’s a lot of infill development, some of which may not fare well if we enter a recession, which will hurt the entire area, says Chuck Graham. The schools will likely improve a little as prices increase, but in the meantime, plenty of high-income singles and DINKs are snatching up houses and condos. But be wary. Graham says the area is “overpriced” and “due for a pullback,” as often happens neighborhoods that aren’t fully gentrified after the cooling of a runaway market.

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