Randy & Cathy Clark and their Arizona cave house.
For all the talk about people abandoning suburbia for urban cores, American moving trends still gravitate towards less dense spaces. According to a recent review of Census data by Trulia Chief Economist Jed Kolko, most movers in the US trend towards “lower density, lower unemployment, and cheaper housing.” This is illustrated by continued shifting from major high-density urban centers to smaller 18 hour cities and suburbs. Nearly half of these between-county moves are less than 100 miles, and 38% are less than 50 miles. “With the exception of the three moves that are the reverse flow of a higher-ranked move,” Kolko writes, “all of the 10 top between-county moves are from a higher-density county to a lower-density county — in other words, to a less urban, more suburban county.” This suggests that American suburbanization continues unabated by the re-popularization of urban cores.
Perhaps central to this trend is a movement towards inner suburbs, along with the “incrementally urbanizing” and redevelopment of outlying suburbs to bolster their appeal to city dwellers. Different types of suburbs exist, but many people consider the suburbs to be one single trope: cul-de-sacs and matching homes, manicured lawns and white picket fences. From the standpoint of an investor or potential homeowner, understanding how urban trends translate to the suburbs can make all the difference with finding a region that will thrive in the changing housing economy and avoiding property in one of the oft-mentioned “dying suburbs.”
Key to teasing out the differences between sustainable and unsustainable suburban growth is developing an understanding of what makes suburbs appeal to consumers (and what does not). The suburban model is largely based around single family homes that offer more space than their urban counterparts at a lesser-or-equivalent price point. Suburbs traditionally center on families, and schools and safety are paramount to a successful suburban community. People who criticize suburban living often find problems with its sense of isolation from wider culture and community. Other criticisms include long commutes, car-centric culture, and tendency towards “beige-ness.”
Taking these considerations into mind, finding suburbs that draw from the positive and avoid the negative is key to a successful buy. What trends should a homebuyer or investor look for when hunting for a perfect burb?
Good deal indicators. Often referred to as inner or first-ring suburbs or railway burbs, communities right beyond the city limits of major cities are growing in popularity, especially when fitted with public transit access to the city. Closer suburban cities tend to mirror many of the characteristics of the cities next to them, often including revival downtown spaces of their own to direct commerce to the city center. Suburbs that model themselves after the 18 hour city culture are also poised to attract creative industry business, young professionals, and Boomer retirees, making them a safe investment.
Less than ideal. Further flung suburbs can be more difficult to assess for their investment value. Take particular note of whether the city seems to have a centralized commerce space or is reliant primarily on strip malls and big box stores. Mixed residential/commerce centers are a sign that the town is shifting away from sprawl-model suburbia. Be wary of cities whose commerce is centered on very “vanilla” office parks or a monocultural economy.
Make sure to avoid. Anything defined by sprawl and endless parking lots. Anything that presumes the growth of tract housing for local economic health. Any exurb that is reliant on the closest city for its economic base and sense of identity. McMansions are unpopular with younger demographics who are looking to live smaller and cheaper, as well as their Boomer counterparts who are looking for simplicity. While cultural trends do shift, investment professionals suggest trending with what Millennials and Boomers are interested in . . and avoiding things they aren’t.
Shared from Realty Times.
3655 Murfreesboro Pike
9.58 ACRES OF LEVEL LAND CLOSE TO OLD HICKORY BLVD INTERSECTION. 2 APPROVED SEWER TAPS. 329FT OF ROAD FRONTAGE. SURVEYED COMMERCIAL. 4-BEDROOM HOME ON PROPERTY TOTALING 1650 SQFT. BARN AND STORAGE BLDG ON SITE