(Including Colonial Village, Collins Park, and Madison Park)

Compact Sedgefield, with its just-beyond-Dilworth location, charming homes, and tree-lined streets, has long been labeled “the next hot neighborhood,” but sales prices in the past year or so reveal that it has indeed arrived. The average sales price in 2007 was $325,624, up from $172,523 in 2002. “People that are getting priced out of Dilworth are migrating to Sedgefield,” says Baesel. Meanwhile, the little neighborhoods south of Sedgefield are seeing a trickle-down effect.

PROS Anything in town is holding up nicely, and this area is no exception. Homes here remain much more affordable than Dilworth (read: you can still find plenty for under $400,000). The proximity to the light rail helps, but that has already been priced in, says RE/MAX’s Michael Seaton, who specializes in Sedgefield.

CONS Other than the weak schools, not many. Teardown activity has even picked up—always a sign that an area is a great investment—although land values aren’t quite where they need to be for widespread new construction. Still, Seaton says, as with the market in general, there is a lot of wait-and-see going on here, particularly in the chancier neighborhoods past Sedgefield proper.

VERDICT If you have kids and can afford private schools, Sedgefield is a can’t-miss. Even with the schools, it will do fine in an economic downturn. Colonial Heights, Collins Park, and Madison Park are holding up, but they are still two to three years away from real appreciation. Buy and hold.