Neighborhood Scout WTH?

11 Replies

So I signed up for the pro version of Neighboorhood Scout about three months ago in an attempt to get an accurate data set for neighborhoods I was not personally knowledgeable about. It seems pretty thorough and I had assumed it was accurate.
So currently, we are under contract on our first buy and hold in the Northside of San Antonio in an area called the "Deco District". Our project is in the rougher part of the district, but houses very nearby are appraising very high and it is considered to be a trendy part of town. You can see dozens or rehabs that have been done as well as dozens ongoing less than half a mile away. Everything is roses essentially, there is a nice grocery store and a Starbucks about half a mile down the street. And while the neighboorhood appears to half a 50/50 mix of poverty and wealth, you can tell the area is gentrifying rapidly. Plus my wife grew up there 30 years ago and marvels at how nice it's becoming.
So tonight out of curiosity, I run the address tonight in Neighboorhood Scout to see what they say. It gets an 8 out of 100 for murder! A 6 out of 100 for rape and is considered one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the city!! I've driven that neighboorhood half a dozen times now and while I might not want to live there now, I could see myself living there in two or three years.

So my question is, how accurate is Neighboorhood Scout? How much of their data is sourced from historical records?
This part of the city was ravaged with gang violence back in the '90s, but there is no sign of that now. 

Am I making a mistake buying here?

I do a lot of work in what sounds like a similar area of my city. I have found that the data on most websites doesn't really match what's actually going on in this specific area. I would trust what you can see and what you hear from people living and working in the area. Data sets are limited in gentrifying areas so I wouldn't get too worked up about it.

@Jarred Donalson

Yeah I think you're right. Home values have been skyrocketing in that area in the past decade, I don't think folks would move to an area with high crimes. I can see with my own eyes that most of the area is pretty nice. Frankly my street is probably the sketchiest looking and it's pretty quiet.

@Jeremy Keeler I don't know much about neighborhood scout, but I do own a home in that neighborhood.  I lived there for over 3 years and now keep it as an airbnb and have never had issues (me or any of my airbnb guests).  There is a lot of foot traffic in the area with all the bus stops nearby, but all in all I loved living there and love the neighborhood and would gladly buy there again.

Hey @Jeremy Keeler I live on Thomas Jefferson, pretty close to the deco area. I have never heard that there are record numbers of murders or rapes in the area. Maybe that is some bad data. 

You really have to drive the area and feel the vibe. You need to see the neatness of yards, the cars, are they parked on the grass, trash in the streets, and then figure what value that has for you.

The fact is that people live there whether there is lots of crime or no crime at all. People move into and out of areas of high crime as well as low crime. The prices are the prices for the area. People may WANT to live in "good school districts", but plenty of people live in the "bad school districts" too. 

You just need to make sure that you are buying far enough under the market price to be able to make some money. Dont use comps that are not in the immediate neighborhood. Monticello historic district will command a way higher price than Keystone or Los Angeles Heights!!

@Jeremy Keeler the data on Neighborhood Scout is about as comprehensive as I’ve ever seen. It boasts a 98% accuracy rating and crime data is comprised of over 9 million reported crimes. The creator started NS while getting his PhD, I would definitely put some weight behind the data.

There's always going to be a lag with data. Where are they getting the crime rates from and most importantly, when are they getting them? Have they got the most current data? 

I wouldn't be concerned about the neighborhood, Starbucks has already done the research for you.