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Old 06-15-2012, 09:52 AM   #141
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Even though we live in very walkable place, in my imaginary life I would have a second little house in a very unwalkable but very peaceful and quiet place far from a business district, and just go back and forth as my soul required.
The proverbial "cabin in the woods"? Sounds nice if you buy one in an unspoiled area that's fairly cheap. My guess is that there are plenty of places like that in flyover country. I wouldn't mind owning one in the Rockies.

I'd still want running water (even if from a well), electricity (solar?) and a phone (cell tower nearby?) This last point is somewhat negotiable, but it's always good to communicate with others in case of an emergency.
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Old 06-15-2012, 10:23 AM   #142
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Personally I just can't see any happiness in doubling my housework, bills, property tax, possessions, upkeep, and maintenance. I wouldn't get enough out of a second home to make all that worthwhile. But for those who want one, I say go for it!
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Old 06-15-2012, 07:09 PM   #143
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Personally I just can't see any happiness in doubling my housework, bills, property tax, possessions, upkeep, and maintenance. I wouldn't get enough out of a second home to make all that worthwhile. But for those who want one, I say go for it!
My second house is imaginary, W2R, and so is the incredible nest egg I would have to take care of running it.
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Old 06-15-2012, 07:20 PM   #144
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My second house is imaginary, W2R, and so is the incredible nest egg I would have to take care of running it.
OK! That sounds good. I'll go for that.
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Old 06-15-2012, 09:13 PM   #145
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Even though we live in very walkable place, in my imaginary life I would have a second little house in a very unwalkable but very peaceful and quiet place far from a business district, and just go back and forth as my soul required.
I just close my eyes and pretend the sound of cars driving by the house are waves crashing on the beach. Much easier when one is laying in a hammock.
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Old 07-16-2012, 01:18 PM   #146
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I just saw a note in the local edition of our Chicago paper that said that the sizes of new homes trended up last year. Apparently the downsizing trend predicted by the National Association of Realtors may have been a recession driven blip on the general trend. Or not. We'll know in 10 years or so.
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Old 07-16-2012, 02:00 PM   #147
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I just saw a note in the local edition of our Chicago paper that said that the sizes of new homes trended up last year. Apparently the downsizing trend predicted by the National Association of Realtors may have been a recession driven blip on the general trend. Or not. We'll know in 10 years or so.
A little early to conclude it was/is a "recession driven blip?"
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These facts lead to an interesting question: how can the average home be getting bigger, more expensive, and have more amenities when the housing market remains weak and the overall economy is yet to see a robust recovery? The answer is simple: it comes down to who has been buying homes. In the last couple of years, a typical home buyer had to have a 20% down payment, a high credit score, well-documented income, and stable employment history in order to qualify for a mortgage.

As a result, and not surprisingly, many first-time home buyers were left out of the home-buying game, leaving the market dominated by a segment of buyers who tend to buy better-than-average homes. It is entirely feasible that when buyers with less stellar bank accounts and credit scores are able to strongly reenter the housing market, the scales will shift down and size and amenities will retreat.
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Could the housing boom days of outrageous McMansions be making a comeback?

At first glance, new data point to yes. The average size of a newly built home rose last year, according to just-released data from the Census bureau, cited on MSNBC. The average new American home last year was 2,480 square feet, an increase of 88 square feet from 2010. The average size of a new home peaked at 2,521 square feet in 2007 when many Americans were at the height of a home-buying frenzy fueled by easy credit. New home-builders constructed ever larger McMansions to cater to demand.

This time around, the growth in home size is much less democratic: Rich people are driving the trend to bigger homes. According to the National Association of Home Builders, last year rich people bought bigger and more luxurious homes. They had the right idea: It's a good time to buy, if you can afford it and have the credit rating to secure a mortgage. Home prices are still languishing at low levels.
Size Matters: Newly Constructed Home Trends in 2011 | RISMedia
Average Home Size Rose 4 Percent In 2011
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Old 07-16-2012, 08:42 PM   #148
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A little early to conclude it was/is a "recession driven blip?"
Whew, what a relief. I was afraid it was because multi-generation family members were having to move back into ohana housing.

An acquaintance of ours is demolishing their 2000 sq ft home down to the foundation and rebuilding a 4000 sq ft two-story manse. They'll continue to live on the brand-new ground floor with a split-floorplan upstairs option which will allow either one (or both) of their kids the flexibility to move back home to help take care of Mom & Dad. At $250K they think it's cheaper than long-term care insurance premiums...
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Old 07-17-2012, 07:16 AM   #149
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An acquaintance of ours is demolishing their 2000 sq ft home down to the foundation and rebuilding a 4000 sq ft two-story manse. They'll continue to live on the brand-new ground floor with a split-floorplan upstairs option which will allow either one (or both) of their kids the flexibility to move back home to help take care of Mom & Dad. At $250K they think it's cheaper than long-term care insurance premiums...
I hope they checked the idea out with the kids first.
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Old 07-17-2012, 08:51 AM   #150
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interesting thread but too long to read all posts. We are very lucky that we are able to cover most of the housing possibilities by owning several personal use homes. Have a nice urban condo in a very walkable ( literally hundreds of restaurants within a mile) in downtown Toronto, a " cottage" by the lake where I am now-within a couple hour drive from Toronto, a house in the beautiful town of Canmore in the Canadian rockies, as well as a great house in Paradise Valley in Arizona. Not representative I know but other than a place on the beach I think we have it covered.
We have really noticed a move to downtown living in the last few years but not sure if this is a trend or not. There are literally dozens of cranes building condos in downtown Toronto. Can't last at this pace.
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Old 07-21-2012, 03:30 PM   #151
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I hope they checked the idea out with the kids first.
It's even more ridiculous than that.

The parent's parents decided to gift each of their two adult children (both married) by offering to pay off their mortgages. One couple still had their $250K mortgage, and apparently had inspired the gift by complaining pretty vocally & regularly about the debt. However the other couple (our acquaintances) had quietly paid off their mortgage and were debt free.

Instead of everyone sitting down and talking through the sibling rivalry finances of their parents' intent, our acquaintances decided to "get themselves a mortgage".

Dysfunctional families aside, it's a smart move. They could rent out the upstairs apartments with no problem, and ohana floorplans are pretty popular around here. I just hope they went with quality energy-efficient construction & soundproofing.

But I agree with you-- it's never good to give your kids an incentive to move back home.
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Old 07-21-2012, 04:30 PM   #152
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Have any of you seen "Income Property"? The program is Canadian but the approach is interesting.

With regard to expecting the kids to look after you in old age, as one who tried to care for my frail mother for a while, that is exhausting.
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Old 07-22-2012, 09:57 AM   #153
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With regard to expecting the kids to look after you in old age, as one who tried to care for my frail mother for a while, that is exhausting.
As we have found with the FIL. DW simply cannot continue doing what she has been doing. Fortunately FIL and the rest of the family know it.
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Old 07-22-2012, 10:20 AM   #154
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We are happier than a pig in p**p with where we are now and wish we had moved here years ago. We will never leave this community. Might downsize but it would still be in this community. Walkable? Hard to say but you can take a golf cart any place. We have our own grocery stores, a WalMart, banks, hospital, fire station, restaurants, Home Depot, hospice, hotels for visitors, golf courses and many different living styles from luxury homes to condos to apartments including assisted living facilities. When you are too old to drive, take the golf cart. For many people, it's their only means of transportation. There are many communities like this in the country and I think it offers an alternative to living downtown or in the burbs. Sorry, you have to at least 55 years old.
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Old 07-22-2012, 10:31 AM   #155
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I just saw a note in the local edition of our Chicago paper that said that the sizes of new homes trended up last year. Apparently the downsizing trend predicted by the National Association of Realtors may have been a recession driven blip on the general trend. Or not. We'll know in 10 years or so.
Or, home builders correctly figured out that median priced homes were not selling and there was a huge glut of foreclosures as the housing market tanked. To stay in business, they went after the only segment they figured was still active, people with so much money they were still going to buy a new house in a recession, and they built for that subsegment. It's not necessarily a broad market trend. It could just be builders looking for some business in a small corner of the market, but the most active one in the middle of a large slump.
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Old 07-22-2012, 11:50 PM   #156
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The houses that owners are dumping are those at the top (~5%) of the market. Evidently the tax treatment of underlying mortgages is likely to be less attractive in the future.
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Old 07-26-2012, 10:44 AM   #157
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No way are suburbs going to die. As this article points out, in almost any American city a carless life can be difficult. Still, marginal improvements are happening for the city dweller who is either carless or dislikes cars.

Shopping for Everyday Living - Seattle Transit Blog

This guy moved to Stockholm for a year, and needed everything. He was able to find it right downtown next to a subway station, at Clas Ohlson.

Similarly, a downtown Seattle "City Target" opened last week, just one block from the Public Market. It too is very handy to the entire retail core, and to the light rail and almost all bus routes. I plan to stop by today and look around.

Something new has happened in our real estate and transportation patterns. Our city gets fairly healthy in-migration, but the biggest part of it is young mostly single, tech workers who recently have been attracted to downtown or at least close-in urban living. I keep in touch with my real estate agent who has become a friend. This week we were having drinks in the sunshine on the patio of a sports bar in my neighborhood, and she told me that a fair number of the new workers coming to work at Amazon and other programmer heavy firms which are expanding in South Lake Union are carless, and in some cases don't even have driving licenses. Many of them are of course choosing to live within walking distance of work, or at least on heavily served quick transit routes. So there is a greater need for basic life retail services easily accessible downtown. Also, in contrast to many carless households, these people are well paid and have plenty disposable income.

Downtown in handier also for anyone living in places like Queen Ann, Capitol Hill, or First Hill. Anyone who needs bus access rather than parking, which is very expensive downtown.

Ha
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Old 07-26-2012, 11:03 AM   #158
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No way are suburbs going to die. As this article points out, in almost any American city a carless life can be difficult. Still, marginal improvements are happening for the city dweller who is either carless or dislikes cars.
Again, as long as gasoline remains (relatively) cheap and plentiful. If/when gasoline becomes relatively expensive and/or scarce, something will have to give. Time will tell...
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Old 07-26-2012, 06:52 PM   #159
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I have always thought of my home as being in the suburb of a sprawling metropolitan area in the Southwest. Then, it occurred to me that a lot has changed in the 24 years that I have lived in this house. Population growth and new developments have put me more like being in town now.

Just looked up the Web and found that, in terms of population, we are now ahead of the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue area of Washington State. Wow! Crossing this metro area is as long in time and distance as driving from Tacoma to Everett, for a comparison.

So, although I am not in the middle of "it", I am no longer at the fringe. As a typical city in the West, and people in Western states know what I am talking about here, my neighborhood is typically not walkable, but certainly "bikable".

The nearest grocery store is 1 mi. away, while within a radius of 5 mi, the number goes up to a dozen. The nearest public library branch is 4.6 mi away. Costco is 2.1 mi, Home Depot 2.5 mi, Walmart 2.0 mi.

Do I need anything else? I should always be able to afford gas to get to those stores, or in the future in an EV that is charged off a solar panel. I should be set for life.

This thread makes me a bit worried about my boonies home though. There, I would have to go near 40 miles to get groceries. Hmm... Perhaps in the far future, people in that area may have to organize a car pool to go to town for food once a week, if gasoline gets too expensive. Hopefully, I will be able to sell it far before it gets that bad. Or the area may become a boom-town in its own right (and I can cash out for big bucks!).
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Old 07-26-2012, 09:10 PM   #160
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Re the 30 miles to a grocery store: One could always to a Once a week trip to get things, Milk being the possible exception due to expiration issues. It would change the way people shop, but was done in the past. If you figure $10 gas and a 40 mpg car (since that would be a reaction to the high gas prices then the trip might run $20) Or if its 30 round trip one could always get a volt and plug it in.
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