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Cost of moving: Artists indicate the hot new cities

Two high-priced, trendy areas of New York were once low-cost artist hangouts.

Two high-priced, trendy areas of New York were once low-cost artist hangouts.

If you're hoping to get in on the ground floor of the next hot neighborhood, but aren't sure where to look, you may want to bypass your local real estate magazine. Instead, look for areas with a high concentration of artists.

Artistic types are usually the vanguard of urban improvement. This group typically consists of early career working artists, musicians, dancers and actors who need to find inexpensive housing. Their creativity doesn't just shine on stage or in the galleries, however. Artists tend to use some of their energy fixing up the area around them, which can often lead to more trendy businesses moving into a neighborhood, according to BusinessWeek.

Once a run-down neighborhood begins to show signs of life and renewal, it's not long until moving companies are bringing in new residents by the truckload. After a few years, property values start to rise and the cash-strapped artists who were once instrumental in the neighborhood's refurbishment are forced to find a new place to call home.

Consider some areas of New York City for examples of this phenomenon. Manhattan's Greenwich Village was once the home to thousands of artists and musicians who were attracted to the relatively low-cost neighborhood. Now, one-bedroom apartments rent for $5,000 a month or higher, according to listings on New York real estate site MNS.com.

More recently, the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn has made the change from artist hangout to high-priced housing market. One-bedroom apartments in the area averaged about $2,400 per month in 2010, according to a recent Crain's New York Business article. 

So what are some of the up-and-coming spots to keep an eye on in the coming years? BusinessWeek recently teamed up with the experts at real estate guru Bert Sperling's Best Places website to find the areas of the country with the highest per capita concentration of artistic institutions. Some of the cities are usual suspects, but others are more off-the-grid.

Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco all found spots in the top 10 list thanks to their reputation for art. Each of the cities has a significant ratio of art establishments to residents. Los Angeles, which tops the ranking, has an impressive 56.1 art establishments per 100,000 people, according to BW/Sperling.

For less obvious artistic cities, you might consider Carson City, Nevada; Kingston, New York; Boulder, Colorado; or Oxnard, California.