Royal abodes

Best Neighborhood to Buy a New House / Most Walkable Neighborhood
Royal Oak

One would suppose that Royal Oak has a walkable downtown (as long as you’re not playing chicken with the trains). But as far as residential neighborhoods go, a sizable portion of Royal Oak consists of a colorless grid of aluminum-sided postwar bungalows (aka “Victory” homes) interspersed with some momentary dwellings of architectural distinction and a surfeit of ersatz-town home-style condos (many of the exteriors of which have languished due to the developer’s financial dilemmas). In any event, Royal Oak certainly warrants being chosen as the best neighborhood to buy a new house, if you’re looking to purchase one of the aforementioned overpriced bungalows or expensive brick condos with weeds for landscaping. The Royal Oak residential real-estate boom caught fire about eight years ago and has yet to cool off, so don’t look for too many bargains. This should really be called “most driveable to,” as the true lineage of Royal Oak’s popularity (pedestrian postwar bungalows notwithstanding) lies in its geographic location at the epicenter of metro Detroit’s autobahn system (i.e. I-696, I-75 and Woodward). Just a few feet from your doorstep are the keys to miles and miles of high-speed freeways and eight-lane arteries, eager to whisk you off to exotic ports of call such as Dearborn, Center Line or Auburn Hills. And if you choose to stay home, you have a plethora of theme restaurants, bars, coffee shops and a dwindling selection of retail survivors from which to choose. While the high rents continue to drive many businesses down Woodward to Ferndale (SoRo), the possibility that the liquor license moratorium may soon be lifted has metro Detroit club- and bar-owners licking their chops. Which, in turn, makes bar patrons even more pleased that the town is “most walkable.”

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