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The historic area includes the main hills of Cerro Alegre and Cerro Concepcion, both of which have been rehabilitated over the past decade with buzzy bars and restaurants. “Prices have risen hugely [in these cerros] over the last few years,” said Matt Ridgway of Chile Investments. “It's now very hard to find houses that could be considered good value, although not impossible. You can still pick up a bargain, but in areas that lack the bars, restaurants and hotels.” In the flat El Plan area in the city centre near the port, students fill the local bars and cafes, attracted by cheap housing prices. “Cerro Artilleria is starting to develop, as is Cerro Bellavista,” said Ridgway. Bellavista is where poet Pablo Neruda lived in his hilltop home, La Sebastiana. The neighbourhood has a number of historic homes and a funicular undergoing renovation.

“Prices [in Valpo] are whatever someone wants, and whether it take two days or two years to sell, people stick to what they're asking,” Ridgway said. On Cerro Concepcion, an old mansion in need of renovation can cost around 250 million Chilean pesos, while a house on Cerro Bellavista can cost around 100 million pesos. Most people rent rooms, rather than an entire house, and a room can cost between 83,000 and 290,000 pesos a month.

Madison, Wisconsin
With its downtown on a narrow isthmus between Lake Mendota and Lake Monona, and the college campus of University of Wisconsin-Madison spread along the lakeshore, Madison is perhaps one of the loveliest college towns in the US Midwest. It is also one of the healthiest, with pedestrianised streets, miles of dedicated bike lanes, four lakes and numerous parks. The university, which is home to around 40,000 students, is able to support two student newspapers, both of which cover news and events in town, and students and residents alike enjoy a thriving art, theatre and indie rock scene, along with a number of summer festivals. Madison is also the state capital of Wisconsin, so in addition to state employees, a number of industries such as insurance and biotech companies draw people to live and work here. “All of my clients move here from outside the state or country, and after they settle in they say that the quality of life here is very good,” said Sheryl Theo, vice president of relocation for First Weber Realtors.

Sought-after neighbourhoods include Near West and Near East that bracket the downtown and are close to the Capitol building. “Some of the most desirable areas are adjacent to the university, such as Shorewood on Lake Mendota and Nakoma,” Theo said, for their access to the city centre. “To the east, Maple Bluff is home to the governor’s mansion and the historic Marquette neighbourhood is very walkable with older houses.” Students live near the university in areas like Langdon Street and Regent Street with bus and bike lane connections to campus.

In Shorewood, property prices range from $500,000 to $2 million, while in Nakoma they range from $350,000 to $1 million. In Marquette, properties average between $250,000 and $450,000. A one-bedroom in these areas rents for around $900 a month, while a three-bedroom is around $1,800 a month.

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