9 Signs Your Neighborhood Is on Its Way to Gentrification

By: Lauren | Published: Dec 16, 2023

You’ve probably heard the word “gentrification” thrown around recently. And in case you weren’t quite sure, essentially, gentrification is when an area or neighborhood changes, in both price and energy, when wealthier people move in and often displace the existing residents and businesses. 

For some, gentrification can mean improvements, but many others simply see it as getting rid of the old and bringing in the new that no one really needs or wants. So, if you’re not sure if your neighborhood is being gentrified, here are nine signs you can look for. 

“The Gentrification Font”

Some call it the “Shake Shack font” while others call it the “gentrification font,” and its actual name is Neutraface. If you see this type of font in your neighborhood, gentrification is already underway.

Screenshot of a Tweet by @raw_jude which states “this is the gentrification font” with a photo of a wooden gate and the numbers “2815”

Source: @raw_jude/X

Although it’s now a common meme and often noted as a joke, Steven Sanders from Highland Park saw this font littering his neighborhood in 2015 when homes averaged about $463,00, and now, they’re sitting at over $1 million. 

No Color? Start to Worry

Others are claiming that one surefire sign that your neighborhood is about to get a whole lot more expensive is if residents begin painting their houses in boring black and white. 

Home painted white with black trim

Source: Pinterest

This modern look may appeal to some normal people, but in general, the idea of completely voiding a neighborhood of color usually means residents are getting much richer. 

Security Cameras Everywhere

Some security cameras in the front yard or above the door are pretty normal these days, but if you start to see excess surveillance, it probably means your community is being gentrified.

White security camera outside a home

Source: Freepik

Many even claim that doorbell cameras actually promote racial profiling and a real lack of neighborly love, which of course, is a bad sign.

Sky-High Fences Are Bad News Too

If a new, usually rich, neighbor moves in and immediately builds a fence that completely blocks any view of their home, it likely means the neighborhood’s getting pretty bougie. 

Brick home with large black metal fences around the front

Source: Freepik

Realistically, any kind of fence or even wall of hedges that ensure complete privacy means your new neighbor has money to spend.

Houses that Belong in Architectural Digest

Love them or hate them, modern box houses are absolutely a sign of gentrification in any community.

Modern architecture box home with electric charging points in the parking lot

Source: Freepik

These minimalist designs just scream, “I’m wealthy!” And they are certainly built to appeal to the upper class. 


Gardens That Don’t Need to Be Watered

Recently, it’s become quite trendy to replace one’s front lawn with a garden full of cactuses and succulents. And although there may be some benefits, including using less water, these gardens are usually quite expensive to upkeep. 

Cacti garden with red rocks

Source: Freepik

So if you see your neighbors swapping out their grass for agave, you’re probably looking at some big changes around your neighborhood soon.


Tiny Libraries Litter the Street Corners

Even though these now-popular tiny libraries are seriously cute and a great way to encourage education within the community, they’re still a sign of gentrification. 

Three photos of tiny public libraries

Source: Pinterest

Remember, it’s not all bad! Sometimes, gentrification can seriously improve the neighborhood in many ways, and this is one of them. 


A Coffee Shop Called “Brewing Bar”

Any kind of hipster coffee shop with $10 Americanos, leather chairs, a record player, or a barista wearing a carpenter’s apron is a telltale sign of gentrification. 

Man on phone outside coffee shop/Brick wall with leather sofa, small tables, and candles

Source: Freepik

These coffee shops usually have names like “Hip Hop Brew,” or “Brewing Bar,” but they all mean one thing: It’s going to get very expensive to live here soon. 


Last, but Certainly Not Least: Luxury Condos

Listen, if you already see new luxury condos in your neighborhood, that probably means it’s already been gentrified.

Illustration of four-story luxury condos

Source: Freepik

But if you see a sign for “new splendid condominiums” or large-scale construction happening, you definitely know it’s on the way. 


Troll Zillow for the Scoop

If you really want to be sure whether or not your community is getting richer and, therefore, more expensive to live in, the absolute best thing to do is to check the Zillow app. 

Zillow app with map and screen of a video

Source: Zillow

You can check what people are saying about your neighborhood, as well as how much the homes for sale cost. If you see any homes listed as an “investment opportunity,” as opposed to a place to live, that’s a big red flag. 


The Upside of a Gentrified Neighborhood

Now, if you can see these signs around your neighborhood and are worried it’s all going to change before your eyes, there is one upside to gentrification. 

Young adults posing in front of brick and colored doors

Source: Freepik

And that is that your house will probably sell for a lot more than you paid for it! So if you don’t love cactuses gardens, hipster coffee shops, the “Shake Shack font,” or black and white houses, call a Realtor as soon as possible.