St. Paul's 55101 is No. 1 on list of nation's 25 top hipster zip codes

JIM BUCHTA | Updated 11/21/2013

Several Minneapolis zip codes made the list, as well

Where to do the nation's hipsters like to hang their hats? The top zip code in the nation, according to a new analysis of rental returns, is St. Paul's 55101, which is smack dab in the middle of the city. Several Minneapolis zips made the top-25 list, including 55401 (No. 4), 55408 and 55405, beating San Francisco and several Chicago neighborhoods.

The list was compiled by RealtyTrac, which "analyzed zip code-level data to identify established and emergent hyper-local hipster markets where investors can realize solid returns on rental properties while also enjoying low vacancy rates that ensure they won’t have much down time between renters."

Realtytrac started with zip codes that had a large population in the prime hipster age range — between 25 and 34, which accounts for 13 percent of the nation's population, and then focused on zip codes with more than 20 percent of the population in that age range. The list was narrowed to zip codes where at least 20 percent of the population either walked to work or used public transportation to get to work. The list was further winnowed to focus on only zip codes where renters accounted for occupancy at least 50 percent of all housing units, and the vacancy rate was 5 percent or less.

Tops on that list was 55101, a 2.9-square-mile area with a population of nearly 22,000, including downtown St. Paul and the Lowertown neighborhood - a hot spot for artists and creative types who are finding cheap rents and cool spaces in the many warehouses buildings that line those streets. 

RealtyTrac says that such an analysis is important because "the hipster lifestyle has a major impact on local real estate markets, and mostly in a positive way...thanks to an influx of trendy restaurants, bars, coffee shops and other amenities, a neighborhood branded as hipster is likely to see property values and rental rates rise while vacancies and foreclosures decline.

"As a nascent hipster market emerges, it can be an extremely appealing target for real estate investors looking to make some quick fix-and-flip profits or to purchase rental properties that provide a steady cash flow and the promise of strong appreciation going forward." 

[Photo: MCT]