3 similar neighborhoods for any budget

What if you want a big lot, close in, something older, maybe Tates Creek Road area.  Well, you have three good options at 3 different price points.

All these neighborhoods are either just inside or just outside New Circle Road by Tates Creek Road.  All are close to things like The Lansdowne Shoppes, Malones, Fresh Market and The Signature Club.  One of the best things about this area is that you can get about anywhere in town easily.  UK/Downtown/Chevy Chase are close.  You are between Hamburg and all that the Fayette Mall/Nicholasville Road corridor offers…..plus, this is arguably the prettiest part of Lexington.

1.  Lansdowne

This is where you go if you have $300-700k to spend.  You’ll get one of the swankiest locations from the 1960s that use to be on the on the edge of town.  I’m taking about roads like Cahaba, Kirkland, Overbrook, etc.  Getting a half acre lot is no sweat here, some are even larger.  Overbrook Circle and Brookhill Circle are my two favorite streets since some of the houses have a view over The Lansdowne Shoppes.

Most of the houses are ranches, but there are 2 story and split foyer/split levels too.  Here is what is typical:

But sometimes you get lucky and find some real architectural gems like:

2.  Lans-Merrick

This is where you land if you want to stay in the $200s-$300s, although there are a few super nice ones that have gone for over $400k.  This neighborhood is right across Tates Creek Road from Lansdowne.   You get a great city park in the middle of the neighborhood which is right beside Julius Marks Elementary school.  Lots out here are usually in the 1/4-1/3 acre range.  Still big by Lexington standards.  Most of the houses were built in the 70s.  Lots of ranches, splits and traditional two stories.  The main roads are Pepperhill and Montavesta.  Fleetwood and Heritage are my favorite streets.


Here is what to expect:

But there are some that are like:


3.  Gainesway

This neighborhood is beside Lans-Merrick, but is just across New Circle.  It seems just as close in though, so don’t let being outside the circle mess with you.  The oldest part of Gainesway harks back to the 50s.  All the streets were named after local horse farms.  Getting a 1/4-1/2 acre lot is easy here.  Most are ranches.  The beauty of this neighborhood is that you get a similar location and lot size as the other two, but you’ll only drop $150-250k for a house.  Castleton Hill and Castleton Way are my favorite streets here.

This is what to expect:

And you might get lucky and find one like these:


So there you have it.  Whether you have $150k or well over $500k, you can enjoy an older home on a large lot in Lexington.

LEXpert’s top picks for around $350k

At the bottom of the market just a few years ago, it seemed like $350k was a HUGE budget.  It still gets you a very nice house, but most of the popular choices like Firebrook, Palomar, Hartland, Andover Forest and Chevy Chase are now well over $400k for a fairly updated home.

Here are a few neighborhoods that I always like to make sure my $350k buyers are aware of:

Dogwood Hills-This is an 80’s neighborhood with large traditional houses located out Harrodsburg Road across from Firebrook.  I’ve always described Dogwood Hills as upscale but not pretentious.  It just has a comfortable, cozy vibe to it that I have always found appealing.   You’ve got a great southwest Lexington location, there is a shopping center with a Kroger right next door, and you have a great city park in the back of the neighborhood.

Rabbit Run-This is a late 80s/early 90s neighborhood.  I am taking about Wellington Lane, part of Wellington Way, Meadowbrook Drive, Meadowbrook Court, Comanche Trail, Comanche Court, Blenheim Way and Blenheim Court.  Rabbit Run does have a section of medium sized houses on small lots.  There is also an adjoining neighborhood whose real name is Saint Stephen’s Green at Rabbit Run….but most people call it all Rabbit Run these days.  Now that I have cleared up all that, what do I like about it?  Like Dogwood Hills, it does have that cozy, comfortable upscale vibe to it.  I think it’s best feature is the location.  It is right in the middle of everything you want on the southwest end of Lexington.  Both Man O War and New Circle Road are minutes away.  You can sneak in the back way to get to Fayette Mall without ever being on Nicholasville Road.  You have all the great things that Harrodsburg Road offers very close, such as the YMCA, library, restaurants, gym, grocery stores…even a hardware store.

Lansdowne-This neighborhood has become very trendy.  $350k doesn’t go as far as it use to here.  What makes it special is that you get a mid-century neighborhood with large lots inside New Circle Road and close to UK, downtown and Chevy Chase.  You can also get to about anything on Nicholasville Road by taking one of the side streets like Zandale, Malabu or Reynolds Road.  A popular spot for many residents is the Signature Club.  It has a great swimming pool.  You can enjoy the club even if you are not a member and dine in “The Cellar.”  As if this location was not ideal enough, you are very close to The Lansdowne Shoppes which has several amazing businesses such as The Fresh Market (One of my favorite grocery stores-great sushi!)

Stonewall-This is my default suggestion when people tell me they want a safe neighborhood with good performing schools and they want a huge yard in south Lexington.  I guess it is my default because it is about the only neighborhood that meets all that criteria.  Stonewall is a 1960s neighborhood that use to be just outside of Lexington.  Just beyond Stonewall is a 70s neighborhood called Grasmere.  Some people think Grasmere is part of Stonewall, but it isn’t.  Grasmere has a similar feel to it, although the lots are a little smaller and the houses are about 10 years newer.  It is a little cheaper too.  When Stonewall won’t fit in your budget, look in Grasmere.  Stonewall is right off Clays Mill Road just outside of New Circle.  It is just a few minutes away from Rabbit Run, so you get all the same location perks.

Neighborhoods with good design

Some people just want a house.  Some people want a house and a neighborhood.  I don’t mean location when I say neighborhood.  That has more to do with proximity to features.  Neighborhood is a vibe thing.  A feeling.  Has to do with trees, the layout of the streets, etc.  Think curvy streets and roads with landscaped medians.  Some good examples are Hartland Parkway in Hartland, or Slashes in Ashland Park.

It is no surprise that neighborhoods with a good vibe are more desirable than neighborhoods that don’t.  That is one reason the exact same house is worth more in a neighborhood like Chilesburg than it is in Willow Bend or Masterson.

I am more of vibe person.  I really like neighborhoods that have some pretty features to see as you walk or drive through them.  An element of design.  So, here are a few that I can think of off the top of my head and why I like them:

  1.  Hartland is probably the best thought out neighborhood in Lexington since Chevy Chase and Ashland Park.  It has a landscaped median running through the whole neighborhood.  All of the cul-de-sacs have landscaped islands in the middle.
  2. Chilesburg-Since it has so many creeks running into the reservoirs in Jacobson Park, the developer didn’t have much of a choice but to work around them.  There are several ponds in the neighborhood, a walking trail with plank farm fencing around it, and some wooded greenspace areas such as the best one on Willman Way.
  3. Greenbrier-There is just something about seeing so much green as you drive through it.  Then you pass the clubhouse and see the golf course.
  4. The Woods-I really like the elevation changes and meandering road that runs through the whole neighborhood.  It is now old enough to have some amazing trees.  You feel like you have left the heart of the city and are in a secret, private place.  Lakewood is a lot like that too because Lakewood use to be on the edge of town.
  5. Chevy Chase and Ashland Park-no explanation needed.

Those are my favorites.  I don’t think we will see anything like these neighborhoods in Lexington again.  There just isn’t the space left.  Other than a few areas in town, we are down to infill projects.  Those often don’t have the space to do much more than clear the land and lay out the neighborhood in a way that maximizes the number of lots.

Guess these 2 neighborhoods that are so much alike?

This neighborhood use to be on the edge of Lexington.  It was a rural setting with high end houses on acre lots.  There is a section of land that later became available.  Those houses are still on larger than normal lots, but less than an acre.  It is close to upscale dining and shopping.  It has other equally desirable neighborhoods around it.  When you are in this neighborhood, you still can feel a little bit of how it use to be in the country.

Know what two neighborhoods I am talking about?  I bet some long term Lexingtonians who know 40502 will say Lakewood.  Everybody else may think Greenbrier.  Both are right.

Back in the 50s when Lakewood was being developed, it was on the edge of town.  There were no curbs on the streets.  The lots were big.  It was a rural setting.  Things like New Circle Road and The Lansdowne Shoppes did not exist.  There was no Alumni Drive.  Just a country road called Mount Tabor.  It eventually became surrounded by other nice neighborhoods.  Then in the mid 80s to mid 90s various bits of a large chunk of land became available and were developed.

In the 70s and 80s, Greenbrier was in the country too.  There was no Man O War nor Hamburg.  You took Winchester Road or Bryant Road to get there.  Greenbrier is now surrounded on 3 sides by neighborhoods like Walnut Grove Estates, Bryant Oak Place, Ashford Oaks and The Reserve at Greenbrier (which has absolutely nothing to do with Greenbrier….guess you can’t trademark neighborhood names?)

Greenbrier is in for some changing.  It has already begun.  It really isn’t a rural neighborhood any more.  It is turning into the classic upscale 40509 neighborhood much like Lakewood, or Ashland Park are to 40502.  What makes both unique are not only the larger lots, but the feel of the neighborhood that just can’t be matched elsewhere.  Those newer streets in Lakewood were full of much nicer houses than the others when they were new.  Right now, the Jimmy Nash houses are much nicer than anything in Greenbrier proper.  But what can’t be duplicated is the mature landscaping and the peaceful easy feeling you get in the older parts of Lakewood and Greenbrier……those features were part of developing the neighborhood.  Developers just don’t do that any more.

So, I think we will see more buyers viewing Greenbrier as a unique neighborhood surrounded by other upscale neighborhoods in a convenient location.  When I moved here in 1985, Greenbrier was way out of town.  It is hard to believe there is a Costco less than 5 minutes away now.  Lakewood 2.0, here we come!

NOW is the time to get into Lansdowne Merrick


Lansdowne-Merrick.  Kind of reminds me of Kenwick in a way.  I mean, here are two neighborhoods that have an awesome location and have been the bargain of the 40502 zip code.  Kenwick was underpriced all the way up until the late 90’s.  It has arrived.  Lansdowne-Merrick on the other hand, is about to arrive.

What makes this neighborhood so right?  The location.  Just like Kenwick, it is surrounded by super desirable neighborhoods costing much more.  Check out a map and you’ll see what I am talking about.  You’ve got Lansdowne Estates and the Glendover area just across Tates Creek Road.  Across Alumni Drive is Turkey Foot and Lakewood.  Warrenton Woods is right beside you.  Castlegate is across Chinoe Road.  Oh, and you have a large park and elementary school in the neighborhood too.  Throw in being 5 minutes to The Lansdowne Shoppes, Chinoe Shopping Center and the Romany Road area, and you can see how you are getting the 40502 lifestyle everybody wants for half price.  I’ve always considered this neighborhood to be the “Lite” version of Turkey Foot.

This is a 70’s neighborhood.  You get some ranches, 2 story houses, a few split foyers.  You will see some wood sided contemporary homes too.  Most range from 1800 square feet to 2500 square feet.  Some have basements.  Some have finished basements that would add to that square footage.

The value range is mostly $200-300k.  Towards the lower end, you’ll get a solid house that may need some updating.  On the higher end, you should expect either a nicely updated house or a larger one with a basement.

I have been saying for a long time that this place will pop like Kenwick did.  I’ve noticed a few super updated houses on the market lately.  Today, I saw this house that is undergoing an extensive renovation.  They are blowing out the back of the roof to add more space.  When you start seeing this, you know it is a good time to get in the neighborhood.  You just cannot beat this location.  As prices in surrounding neighborhoods have gone up, this is the last undervalued spot to be in 40502.

Other neighborhoods on my watch list:  Meadowthorpe, Idle Hour and the front part of Gaineway.