I've been living in Stamford for the past 12 years and made only one mistake: not buying a house when they were $200K. You won't be able to find a decent place for under $600K today.
This being said, it's a great place to live.
The people: Many of us are not "new rich", only old poor who decided to stay, even after the price hike, because we had made a life here. There's a decent Spanish and Eastern European population. Some of teh black population moved North when prices started climbing. Two neighborhoods remain predominantly black. There are only 3 kinds of people in Stamford:
1)Rich people who don't think twice before buying a 2 million house on the water or in the country side.
2) Middle class people who spend every penny they have in expensive middle class houses.
3) Subsidized people who will eventually manage to save enough money to buy a nice house somewhere else.
The activities: For all tastes. Culture, sports, nature. The city goes to great lengths to make acticities accessible to all. Not too many parks though. The few beaches are not nice sand beaches like Greenwich beaches.
The weather: Beware of misleading statistics. We don't get 2" a year, but more around 20". Spring and Fall are gorgeous. Summer is pretty humid with lots of rain. Winters are long and cold.
The schools: Stamford has numerous public schools. Preschools are very expensive . 10% of your salary will go into it, no matter whatother expenses you have and how many children you have. Elementary schools lack after-school programs. Teacher/children ratio is good. Schools are safe.
Employment: I've never known anybody who could stay unemployed unless they wanted to. Offices/stores constructions are currently going on all over the place, which are bringing some more 2,000 jobs to the city. Salaries are higher than average, a bit lower than NYC.
Traffic: Stamford is small enough and well designed enough that you can go from one side of the city to the other in about 20 minutes. Traffic around the train station has always been a mess and it will get much worse with all the new constructions downtown.
Property taxes: High (but not as high as Bridgeport) and getting higher every year. Count around $6,000 for a one-family house.
Utilities: the highest in CT. Someone must have though we're all "new rich".
There's a 55% increase in water prices planned for December. Heating an apartment during the winter months will cost you around $400. A house...I'll le