The Maricks love the small-town feel of this Southern California suburb.
Why they're never leaving: A neighborhood of distinctive 1,450- to 1,650-square-foot Cape Cod and Craftsman houses that "pack a lot of functionality into a small area." Like-minded residents who treasure their small-town sense of community. The Birch Street Promenade, a shopping and entertainment district with urban touches like live outdoor music and an annual jazz festival.
The story behind the burb: A onetime oil and citrus town, Brea's downtown went into a decades-long decline after a regional mall opened. Community workshops identified a desire for a walkable district combining commercial and higher-density residential development (including loft-style apartments) with a blend of architectural styles.
Want in? Brea home prices averaged $651K to $675K in October. Loft apartment rentals on the Birch Street Promenade run between $1,100 and $1,400 a month, while some houses in the adjacent 96-home Ash Street Cottages neighborhood have soared past $700K. www.ci.brea.ca.us