Good luck and enjoy Duke! Jula
The other major consideration is how much you want to spend. If you are looking for something more pricey there are a few listings in Duke Forest which is adjacent to the University and was originally developed by Duke for faculty and staff.
The really high end stuff in Durham ($700K and above) has been stagnant for several years and there are some terrific bargains especially if you plan on being here for awhile. The other alternatives include the older neighborhoods closer to downtown like Trinity Park. These neighborhoods are pricey for the square footage but boost a strong sense of community (neighborhood associations, listservs, etc.) and are even more precious now that Downtown Durham is becoming the arts and entertainment center of the Triangle. The final consideration that may be the importance of schools. Many new Dukies get steered to Chapel Hill because of the school ratings and pay a heavy premium in house prices. However this is much less a factor than it was just a few years ago primarily because of the strides the Durham system has made since its two systems merged about 15 years ago. Reputation still lags reality somewhat but I would not hesitate to put my daughter in the Durham school system again.
Hope this helps. Good luck. Don't know where you are coming from but this is a wonderful place to live.
I can highly reccomend the areas you mentioned, especially Lochnora since I live on Lochnora Pkwy myself and have found it quite nice and very conevenient over the lasr 12 years. The Woodcroft/Hope Valley Farms neighborhoods are also quite nice. The SW part of thecounty has had the best track record for appreciation and ease of re-sale in recent years.
Please let me know if I can be of assistance with move to the Durham area and congratulations on your new faculty appointment at Duke.
Coldwell Banker Howard Perry & Walston
All of the neighborhoods you mentioned are great choices, the reason you are hearing Woodcroft & Hope Valley is partially resale. These neighborhoods have been the top selling in Durham for the past couple of years, so resale is very good in both, obviously when you are the buyer, this also means less room to negotiate for you as well. I would be happy to help in any way I can, I am very active on Trulia, as you can probably see and would love to help you find your new home.