You already recognize the Gateway to the West as a one-of-a-kind place to live. Now, we dissect the city marked by the Arch to reveal your go-to guide for moving on up in St. Louis.

New to the Market

Ready to make your first move in the big city? You might be a grad student or in med school, or simply have a young family, and looking to expand your entertainment options. Either way, the University City and Central West End neighborhoods are extra-appealing with affordable housing options and trendy hot spots, like the Delmar Loop. “Young kids look for condos or lofts in Midtown, and places like the CWE or U City are very affordable and popular,” says Steve Mathes, a realtor for Coldwell Banker Gundaker.

Vicki Holton of Keller Williams Realty agrees. “They're looking for entertainment—restaurants and shopping areas,” she says. When it comes to young families, though, the search expands to include areas as far as St. Charles County. “They want something that's basically affordable, like what you'll find in Maplewood, Rock Hill, Des Peres or Ballwin.” Holton notes that a lot of properties are being sold 'as is.' “With a definite lack of inventory, young buyers now feel they can buy 'as is,' and save by fixing up a property in a good neighborhood.”

If you have family and economy on the mind, you need a neighborhood that offers more bang for your buck. “South City has cute, charming houses for that,” says Anne Dunajcik of RedKey Realty. “Affton also is appealing because it's outside of the city, but still close to it.”

Premium Cut

The popular areas of St. Louis remain a constant, still reigning supreme as top neighborhood picks. “After 30 years in the real-estate business, there are no new surprises. Clayton and Ladue are still at the top of anyone's list because of location and school district,” says Mathes. He notes that easy access to the airport makes both places an ideal location for business travelers, as well as being within close proximity to established hospitals. “New construction is extra-appealing, and Ladue is less expensive to build from the ground up.”

“Ladue and Clayton are hot. In certain areas of Clayton, like Hillcrest, once something opens up—boom!, it's gone,” concurs Holton. Dunajcik notes how quickly homes go off the market in these coveted St. Louis neighborhoods, all within a month's time; and on average, within five days in Ladue. “It's a very robust and healthy market, but you still have to price right,” says Dunajcik. She also names Town & Country as a new favorite for St. Louisans seeking a distinguished area to relocate.

Aged Well

When your abode becomes less of a pleasure to live in, and more of a nuisance, downsizing becomes a necessary next step. The good news: There is a vast selection of housing to choose from. “Villas have become very popular because they still offer basements for storage, and even a yard for a dog or garden. Yet someone else takes care of maintenance,” explains Dunajcik.

Walkable neighborhoods that offer a sense of community are attractive areas for relocation. “People who are downsizing seem to be attracted to Clayton and the nightlife. They can find smaller condos there, with phenomenal services,” says Mathes. Areas in West County, Ladue and Warson Woods are being built up with one-levels in mind, such as ranches or villas, so that St. Louisans can stay within their chosen community. With so many top-notch choices at your hands, finding an ideal neighborhood to suit your needs should be an exciting time. Moving, on the other hand, ...