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Kaid Benfield’s Blog

Further evidence of market shrinkage for sprawl locations, supersized houses

Kaid Benfield

Posted June 9, 2008

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Raleigh, North Carolina is not a bad place to take the pulse of the country.  And the local News and Observer has an article on how the living aspirations for Generation Y are differing from those of their parents, even as GenYers project their future decades.  Some quotes from the story, whose points are elaborated by interviews with three local residents in their 20s:

“I'm not willing to do a long commute. I want to be close to work, close to friends and close to local services.”

Founders Row, a condo development in downtown Raleigh (photo: Glenwood Agency Real Estate)“In the next 20 years a big backyard is going to move from asset to liability. Mention ‘acreage’ and a 50-something hears ‘peaceful place away from the pressures of the city,’ while a 20-something hears ‘isolated maintenance nightmare.’”

“Sustainable housing and furniture are important to me. It also affects where I live. I'd like to take public transit or, ideally, walk to work.”

“I want a smaller space so it's easier to take off and go. A house that's low-maintenance is good. Generation Y traveled a lot in college and will continue to do so through life. So a big yard isn't a plus, either.”

“The huge space thing as a status symbol is gone. Well-used efficient space is best.”

“It means homes that offer more connection to the neighborhood instead of privacy for their owners: front porches, less space between homes, more density, smaller yards, building up instead of out, condominiums, duplexes, etc.”

Read the article here.


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SueJun 10 2008 01:57 PM

It's great to see that the affluent and upwardly mobile young people are making environmental/energy conscious choices about housing size and location. What concerns me however, is are the low and moderate income populations (especially middle aged and elderly) already living in dispersed rural areas, tied down by jobs, family and kin, and faced with rising transportation costs with no realistic alternatives to the private automobile in the near future. In eastern Kentucky, where I reside, 30+ mile round trip drives to reach doctors, grocery stores, pharmacies, schools, not to mention places of work, are common for most. There are no public transportation alternatives, and telling a population with a median income of less than $25,000 that they should switch to hybrids is ludicrous. These areas need public transportation, but do not have the resources to build it on their own.

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