The top areas to live in the world are different than you might think. Some of them offer resort-style luxury, while other top areas are affordable – especially when the amenities they offer are considered.
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 to feel grateful, but it can also be 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.
Our mission at Life Quality Examiner is to advocate for others who seek to make bold decisions that improve 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 hyperlocal and evaluates neighborhoods.
The right neighborhood matches your unique interests and supports your physical health and emotional well-being.
The Top Areas Lifestyle Algorithm
Several considerations are factored into the decision to include a residential neighborhood in our list of the top areas – 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.
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Are the Top Areas 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, our 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 American cities.
Additionally, the neighborhoods in our Runners-Up category are among the least expensive places to live in first-world and developing countries.
Best Neighborhoods to Live in the World
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 the health, comfort, and happiness that you experience on a typical day.
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★ WINNER: Kalepa Point / Opihikao on the Big Island of Hawaii
Among the top area winners on our list, Kalepa Point also has the distinction of winning our Most Affordable category. 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 a 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 / Kalepa Point 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 not only has every climate zone, but also microclimates within those zones. At Kalepa Point 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.
★ WINNER: Malibu Road in Malibu, California
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.
You can discover what it’s really like to live in Malibu. 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 ranges. 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.
★ WINNER: 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 Kalepa Point is located – are the abundance of amenities and the stunning beaches (however, the air quality is generally poorer than what is breathed at Kalepa Point 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.
★ WINNER: 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.
RUNNERS-UP: Neighborhoods That Almost Made Our Short List
There are many excellent residential communities around the globe that our Lifestyle Algorithm ranked highly but still didn’t quite make our list of the very best neighborhoods, usually for one particular reason. For example:
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.
You can browse photos and details of houses currently available on the L.A. residential real estate market with our Los Angeles luxury homes search tool.
Here are more runners-up who almost made the top list:
• San Ignacio Town in Belize in a stunningly beautiful, extremely affordable, English-speaking community in Central America; however, their civil rights are decades behind other countries (and we have found that civil rights serve as an excellent litmus test for an area’s overall quality of life).
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• Mosquitos and crowding are also challenges being faced within the US’ own beautiful and festive Coral Gables, Florida.
And, of course, some otherwise spectacular communities were ultimately ranked lower because of the cold weather. For instance:
• the beach-side neighborhood of Point Shirley, dead center on a tiny island in Boston Harbor is delightfully walkable and 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 top areas list.
Several towns within the small, South American country of Uruguay rank highly using our Lifestyle Algorithm. The quality of life is phenomenal, the weather 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, its 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 short list of best neighborhoods in the world.
Columbia is another country we have been hearing about. This country has changed dramatically in the last 20 years and may soon make the top list.
If you are intrigued by the idea of buying or selling a house within the best neighborhoods in the world, we invite you to phone us at 310-345-6911 and see how we might be helpful to you.
This article on the best neighborhoods in the world is intended as entertainment. Nothing within this article is intended as investment advice.
We encourage you to always seek professional investment or legal advice and do your own due diligence, including the thorough review of any community or home.
While we at Life Quality Examiner do our own due diligence before writing about our opinions on top areas, you as our reader must not substitute it for doing your own due diligence. 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 four top areas best aligns with who you are as a person?
- What would a typical day be like for you if you lived in one of these neighborhoods?
- What sorts of activities or endeavors do you imagine yourself experiencing in these top areas?
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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/