If it significantly limits your buying options, then yes include HOA'd neighbors in your search.
Typically, HOA fees do increase annually a small amount. And you really need to consider what your HOA fee "buys" you...parks, trails, pools, tennis, golf, common area/entryway maintenance, lighting, snow removal? How much does this stuff matter to you and your future family?
Also, speaking from experience I LIKE the idea of an HOA limiting what people can and cannot do in their yards/exteriors.
People have a variety of intrepretations of the words, "clean, uncluttered, grass mowed, taking Christmas decor down in a timely fashion," etc. and you'd be surprised what some unfettered homeowners will do on their properties...