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Old 06-01-2012, 09:38 AM   #21
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Of course, one of the challenges for me with a 55+ community is that I don't golf and it's my impression that most of them will wind up making me pay for golf facilities I don't use.
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Old 06-01-2012, 09:40 AM   #22
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I predicted the same thing 10 years ago when I bought my current house on the edge of the central part of the city in an urban area. The trend of building more and more houses 30-60 minutes from "town" couldn't continue forever. Who would want to live way out there and pay those ridiculous prices?

The house we bought is in a gentrifying area and I am still waiting on that gentrification to happen almost 10 years on. We are 2 miles from the "$400,000 teardowns" that people buy, bulldoze, and replace with a 4000 sf mcmansion on a postage size lot in downtown. But in our neighborhood, you can still buy a quarter or third acre lot with 2000-2500 sf house and 2 story detached garage for $100000 (fixer upper) to $160,000 (fixed up). Replacement costs on the structures are probably close to $250-300k.

Still waiting on that gentrification. Apparently local buyers haven't read the article linked to in OP's post.
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Old 06-01-2012, 09:40 AM   #23
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I was lucky enough to live in London and NYC paid for by mega...

Both of these cities were 'walkable' as the weather was not horrible (you can live with the occasinally hot days and the colder winter days)... but the main thing that made them 'walkable' was the mass transit... no place had enough things to do with just walking... most things you had to take a subway or bus and then walk a bit... or spend a LOT of time walking (not something a lot of old people want to do when arthritus might be taking over)...

Also, the cost of the places where I lived were EXPENSIVE... say about $1 mill for a one bedroom place... making a place walkable is expensive... unless it was planned from the beginning...

I do not think there will be a lot of walkable places down in the South... it is just to dang hot... in the middle of the day, when the temp is a 104, you would be soaking by the time you made it to where you wanted to walk....


I think that one of the major things that the writer did not factor in his analysis is the population increase... From what I can calculate, the estimate is an additional 81 million people by 2050.... these people have to go somewhere..... which means that houses that have been built will probably be sold...
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Old 06-01-2012, 10:05 AM   #24
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I live in the East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area. My house is small so I can't downsize. It's in a nice, relatively quiet neighborhood. House values around here didn't crater during the downturn. I can easily walk to shopping areas in 3 directions. I can walk to buses or BART. I'm walking distance from the University for cultural attractions. There are lots of great places to go within easy driving distance (i.e. went up to the wine country on my motorcycle yesterday). The cost of living is fairly high but since I've lived here for 30+ years it's what I am used to and what we planned for with regards to retirement expenses.

My mother lives in a gated retirement community east of us. It seems very sterile to me. It's hot; uninteresting shopping and restaurants; have to drive everywhere. I can't stand it out there.
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Old 06-01-2012, 10:10 AM   #25
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Different strokes for different folks...we all have different wants/needs/expectations.
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Old 06-01-2012, 10:14 AM   #26
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I like the concept of "walkable". Many of us have lived on college campuses which were walkable communities. I've got good memories of them.

But, I'm 64 and find there are about 4 months out of the year in my upper midwest state when I really enjoy walking.

When I consider the variety of stores, churches, health care facilities, restaurants, etc. that would be required to provide the choices us older people expect, it seems that any walkable community has to be densely populated. That means expensive high rise construction and mimimal green space to me.

I can imagine a 55+ community in a great climate with mostly golf carts. I could make it a point to ride a bicycle. But, that won't happen if we stay close to kids and grandkids.

The commute goes away when you retire. Most suburbs have a good mix of services, there is no particular reason to drive into central cities. Suburban lots have room for flowers and 3 season rooms. I think many retirees will stay in them as long as they are physically able.
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Old 06-01-2012, 10:25 AM   #27
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I think it's difficult, if not impossible, to project these kinds of things into the future (at least it has been for me!).

I'm a non ER'd person who's lurked and occasionally posted on these boards for a long time (I've certainly thought about it). Spent 8 years (2001-2009) working as a free-lance conductor (choirs, not trains!) after giving up a tenured position at a University. In 2009 I took a position at the University of North Texas and will turn 62 this August. At this point, I'm enjoying what I do and plan to be here until at least age 66. Of course, that could change--either earlier or much longer, should I keep enjoying what I'm doing!

(my updates are here: Long-time lurker)

My wife and I bought a 2000 sq. ft. house here in Denton two years ago and like the community and place a lot--Denton has a comfortable small town feel, while offering a university community (the College of Music here is huge and offers 1000+ concerts and recitals each year), close access to shopping, plus Dallas and Ft. Worth about 45 minutes away. Our neighborhood is quiet, heavily treed (reminds us a bit of our native Northwest, although very different flora and fauna), and very comfortable.

However, we can't anticipate what our desires will be 4 years from now. We might like to stay here as home base, but travel as frequently as our budget allows. We might like to escape the hellish summers here (beautiful, but you can't really go outside!), either with an inexpensive permanent place (we liked Puyallup, WA when we lived there before) or just rent where ever we go.

Or would we like to move somewhere else entirely? Would we like to do what Billy and Akaisha have done (we've thought about it)? Or RV (unlikely, although there are aspects of that which are attractive, too)? Back to the NW on a permanent basis? Hard to know if we'll have adapted to much more sun! And in that time span our parents (all still alive, mine 85, wife's late 70's) may be gone or in a much different part of their life-cycle.

Almost all of the big moves we've made, partly through career, but also for other reasons, would have been impossible to anticipate two years, or often even one year, in advance.

So I agree with Nords that I'd be unlikely to make a decision based on demographic trends.

I expect we won't know what we're going to do until we get there!
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Old 06-01-2012, 11:00 AM   #28
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It is difficult to predict, we can only look at the tea leaves and do our best. In many cases, predicting when a trend will actually happen is impossible, but predicting if may not be. ie, I have no idea when, but cheap oil isn't going to last forever - and that is going to change a lot of things.

But I assume I'm not alone in that we can't afford to plan to move whenever it strikes our fancy, the real estate transaction costs and the moving costs are considerable each time - a 4 year window would be completely unacceptable to me. And if fringe suburbs do indeed depreciate a lot, the lost equity (and waiting to sell) would only add to the considerable cost.

Again for us there's little downside whether fringe suburbs die off or not, we don't want to live there anymore in any case. YMMV
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Old 06-01-2012, 11:15 AM   #29
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When I consider the variety of stores, churches, health care facilities, restaurants, etc. that would be required to provide the choices us older people expect, it seems that any walkable community has to be densely populated. That means expensive high rise construction and mimimal green space to me.
I live in what is generally considered to be Seattle's most walkable community, but there are quite a few others very similar. I find your assertion to be doubtful at least with respect to this community, with regard to any of the needs you mention. Within 1/2 mile I have 3 Roman Catholic churches, 2 Greek Orthodox, one synagogue, and 10 or 12 Protestant churches. In this same area are 6 supermarkets or specialty stores like Trader Joe. There are 5 large general hospitals, also maybe half the clinics in Seattle. Although various upzoning propositions are often being discussed, few happen. In a very small area near the most urban part (where the hospitals are) new buildings can be 18 or so storeys, on major arterials 6 max, and on most arterials and certain side streets 3 max. There are also many elegant older SFH, and a few modern, expensive SFH. These as might be expected cost $1mm and well up from there. Lots of newer Town Homes, some with architectural interest, and some ugly. There are trees and attractive landscaping everywhere. There are at least 5 parks in this area, some quite large, and much larger non- urban areas and a nice beach within an easy 1-2.5 mile bus ride. The area mostly appeals to younger people, so there are probably 15 upscale mini-gyms, 10 yoga studios, including some "hot yoga", ~100 restaurants many with sidewalk seating, and another ~100 bars and nightclubs, catering to the finest slice and dice of interests and orientation that I could ever imagine, and never would have imagined before moving here.

There is a major university with ~20,000 students 4 blocks away, and another community college of the same or larger size about 7 blocks. Also within 4 blocks are 4 or 5 private middle schools and high schools so the neighborhood does not seem like an adults only zone.

The most elegant older residential streets have the biggest trees, as they have been in place the longest. But these same areas are hard on walkers or drivers, as the city cannot keep up with the damage the large tree roots do to sidewalks and streets.

There is however only one hardware store, but it is an old fashioned place with well informed clerks. Still, to compare to the suburbs, I can catch a bus 7 blocks away and with no transfers be at Lowe's within 15'.

I can walk to downtown easily enough, but if it is raining or I am in a hurry, I have any of 4 buses within 5 blocks to take to various areas downtown in less than 15' in heaviest traffic, and another bus 7 blocks away to take me to the University District or Ballard, both great walking destinations.

Parking is at a premium as might be expected.

If one can pay much more, he can get almost the same amenities and friendlier street manners. This is fairly urban, and compared to my last neighborhood only 1/2 mile away but much more upscale, this has a colder big city feel on the street.

In summary, everyone has differing needs, but with a moderate budget and some flexibility wrt to renting or downsizing space and parking needs, this is hard to imagine being inadequate for those benighted, confused few who imagine that they might like urban living.

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Old 06-01-2012, 11:40 AM   #30
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Every house that I've owned over the last 30 years has been bigger. I'd much rather die at this address than to downsize to something that might have a better resale value.
You and I may be "outliers" in this stat, but I have no problem with that.

I enjoy articles from folks that tell me my "future", regardless of what is actually fact in my mind.

PS: Hey Nords, we did look at available condo's in NW Maui (beyond where we stayed a couple of weeks ago), but we stil have concerns due to our family dynamics on the move, not necessaily driven by cost (if you understand what I mean).
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Old 06-01-2012, 12:21 PM   #31
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I've been shopping for a house in a "walkable" neighborhood for a few months now. Right now we're in the suburbs in a neighborhood with "good schools" (which don't matter since we're not going to have kids), and very few things within walking distance, and even those require walking up huge hills on the way home.

I'd love to get more walking in as a daily activity instead of planned exercise. Even though we're more than 6 years from retirement, I'm looking at this as my retirement house. I'm hoping for space for a garden, and plenty of room for my art/hobbies/way of making a few extra bucks.

While a lot of my friends have mentioned wanting to downside in a similar way, I think the larger houses in the suburbs will keep most of them from moving. We are starting to see more planned communities show up that include a Main street kind of area with shops and restaurants surrounded by houses. Most people that live there still commute during the week, but at least on weekends they can walk to a restaurant to have brunch.
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Old 06-01-2012, 03:13 PM   #32
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I enjoy articles from folks that tell me my "future", regardless of what is actually fact in my mind.
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Old 06-02-2012, 12:37 AM   #33
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PS: Hey Nords, we did look at available condo's in NW Maui (beyond where we stayed a couple of weeks ago), but we stil have concerns due to our family dynamics on the move, not necessaily driven by cost (if you understand what I mean).
I do understand. Luckily I think those condo bargains will still be there a few years from now...
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Old 06-02-2012, 05:28 AM   #34
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Also, the cost of the places where I lived were EXPENSIVE... say about $1 mill for a one bedroom place... making a place walkable is expensive... unless it was planned from the beginning...

I do not think there will be a lot of walkable places down in the South... it is just to dang hot... in the middle of the day, when the temp is a 104, you would be soaking by the time you made it to where you wanted to ..
Quite the contrary; here are three examples, and there are many more.

Knoxville, TN
Chattanooga, TN
Athens, GA

I have personal experience with the first two, which are walkable, have lots of green space, lots of water, nearby universities, lots of nearby places to eat and shop (no big box stores), are safe, and are inexpensive (including parking). However, as observed earlier, living in an urban environment is noisier than the burbs; but, on an exciting way...we listened to a free outdoor concert last night...from our balcony.
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Old 06-02-2012, 07:16 AM   #35
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I deleted a post I made because the paragraph breaks disappeared, and it looked like one long paragraph. Anyone else run into that?
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Old 06-02-2012, 09:56 AM   #36
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I deleted a post I made because the paragraph breaks disappeared, and it looked like one long paragraph. Anyone else run into that?
Not that I know of. If it happens again, maybe the paragraph breaks could be added after hitting the edit button.
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Old 06-02-2012, 10:04 AM   #37
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I predicted the same thing 10 years ago when I bought my current house on the edge of the central part of the city in an urban area. The trend of building more and more houses 30-60 minutes from "town" couldn't continue forever. Who would want to live way out there and pay those ridiculous prices?

The house we bought is in a gentrifying area and I am still waiting on that gentrification to happen almost 10 years on. We are 2 miles from the "$400,000 teardowns" that people buy, bulldoze, and replace with a 4000 sf mcmansion on a postage size lot in downtown. But in our neighborhood, you can still buy a quarter or third acre lot with 2000-2500 sf house and 2 story detached garage for $100000 (fixer upper) to $160,000 (fixed up). Replacement costs on the structures are probably close to $250-300k.

Still waiting on that gentrification. Apparently local buyers haven't read the article linked to in OP's post.
Great post. These articles often predict trends that just don't happen.

Here, after Hurricane Katrina damaged so many houses there was a migration by some to the North Shore of Lake Ponchartrain. Around 2007 the local news media predicted that these new North Shore residents would tire of the 40-60 minute commute and that houses closer in, like mine, would rise in value as they return en masse.

I'm still waiting for that.
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Old 06-02-2012, 10:25 AM   #38
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Buried in the OpEd article is this:

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(Disclosure: I am the president of Locus, a coalition of real estate developers and investors and a project of Smart Growth America, which supports walkable neighborhoods and transit-oriented development.)
The only people I know who are downsizing right now are selling their nicely sized house in an eminently walkable Chicago proper neighborhood to move to a gated community in a fringe neighborhood. Go figure.
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Old 06-02-2012, 11:04 AM   #39
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Great post. These articles often predict trends that just don't happen.

Here, after Hurricane Katrina damaged so many houses there was a migration by some to the North Shore of Lake Ponchartrain. Around 2007 the local news media predicted that these new North Shore residents would tire of the 40-60 minute commute and that houses closer in, like mine, would rise in value as they return en masse.

I'm still waiting for that.
Or they predict trends that will happen without a definite timeline. Maybe their predictions will be correct. In 10, 20, 30 years. Who wants to wait that long for something to happen? I'd rather make a decision to buy something that I can use now and enjoy now, and if in 10-20 years I have to move and take a small loss (or a lower gain) on my house, then at least I got a big chunk of a lifetime out of the initial choice.

My thoughts happen to align with the general sentiment of the OP's article, but I made my housing choices based on what we were looking for, informed by price and value of what we were buying.
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Old 06-02-2012, 12:59 PM   #40
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Buried in the OpEd article is this:

Quote:
(Disclosure: I am the president of Locus, a coalition of real estate developers and investors and a project of Smart Growth America, which supports walkable neighborhoods and transit-oriented development.)
The only people I know who are downsizing right now are selling their nicely sized house in an eminently walkable Chicago proper neighborhood to move to a gated community in a fringe neighborhood. Go figure.
I think you nailed the best point. The author has a bias. So one can ignore the message unless one's area is showing clear signs of deterioration.
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