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Old 08-18-2011, 10:41 AM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
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More homebuyers want walkable, transit-served communities - Greater Greater Washington

very well written and sourced piece.
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Old 08-18-2011, 11:01 AM
 
Location: New-Dentist Colony
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I think there's a market for that, but it's mostly for singles, DINKs, and empty-nesters. I don't know the methodology of that NAR survey they're quoting, but anecdotally, it seems like everyone wants to live in DuPont or Clarendon until they get married and are planning kids--and then they want a backyard and good schools. That's not to say you can't get those near transit, but it's pricey.

And on top of that, near transit often equals near a lot of noise (mostly from late-night bars/restaurants and early-AM deliveries)and near a lot of crime. We used to live a few blocks from a Metro stop but actively chose to live a bit farther from one when we bought our house last summer, mainly for those two reasons. (Plus we both drive to work.)

I like walking too, but the wife and I always drive to get groceries or run other errands, and I can't see that ever changing. Sure, we could walk to get groceries like we did in Manhattan, but Manhattan was LOUD and crowded.

And check out the detailed results from that survey, which someone posted in the comments section:

87% said the most important thing they look for is privacy.
80% of respondents in the NAR survey said they'd prefer to live in a single-family house
59% said they'd take a small house and a shorter commute over a big house with a longer commute
58% said they'd pick a walkable neighborhood over one where driving was a necessity,
57% said they should improve existing places
56% one with smaller homes but amenities within walking distance
50% said better public transit would reduce traffic
47% of respondents would like to live in a downtown, an inner-city residential neighborhood, or a suburb with shops and amenities within walking distance
32% endorsing new development in older communities
30% endorsed creating places that required less driving
23% of Americans surveyed want to live within walking distance of rail transit

I'd count myself as among the 59% willing to trade house size for a better commute--but we've already done that. We could've gotten twice the house in Loudoun or Fairfax, but we both wanted an easier drive to work. "Easier commute" doesn't necessarily mean "mixed-use condo building."

Not that you were saying that, but GGW spins everything in that direction. That's the main beef I have with that site: It consistently presents this false choice of either a condo in the city or a 3000SF house 50 miles from the city. What about small (or even medium-sized) houses closer in?

Last edited by Carlingtonian; 08-18-2011 at 11:09 AM..
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Old 08-18-2011, 11:17 AM
 
Location: Everywhere and Nowhere
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Based on what I see on C-D, it seems what most people want are towns with neighborhoods of smaller single family homes with decent size yards within walking distance of restaurants, gourmet grocery stores, coffeehouses, libraries, and excellent schools, perhaps with a university.nearby. Northampton or Williamstown, MA come to mind.
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Old 08-18-2011, 11:17 AM
 
Location: Virginia
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It makes sense to me that homebuyers would put such things on their wish list. There are a lot of things home buyers would love to have, but in the end they usually settle for a house that fits their budget and maybe just 1-2 other items on their list. Sometimes being near transit makes it onto the final list, sometimes not.
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Old 08-18-2011, 11:28 AM
 
Location: Virginia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlingtonian View Post
That's the main beef I have with that site: It consistently presents this false choice of either a condo in the city or a 3000SF house 50 miles from the city. What about small (or even medium-sized) houses closer in?
Or people like me, who work out in the burbs. We picked a house for its short commute to work but it also happens to be a big house 50 miles from the city because that's where both our jobs are.
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Old 08-18-2011, 11:30 AM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
8,816 posts, read 10,725,934 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carlingtonian View Post
Not that you were saying that, but GGW spins everything in that direction. That's the main beef I have with that site: It consistently presents this false choice of either a condo in the city or a 3000SF house 50 miles from the city. What about small (or even medium-sized) houses closer in?

BTW maybe its my fault for responding to this - I would really l be happy if in this thread we could discuss this one article, and discuss views of other GGW posts elsewhere.

Last edited by brooklynborndad; 08-18-2011 at 12:47 PM..
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Old 08-18-2011, 11:35 AM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
8,816 posts, read 10,725,934 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caladium View Post
Or people like me, who work out in the burbs. We picked a house for its short commute to work but it also happens to be a big house 50 miles from the city because that's where both our jobs are.

Id say that lots of people who work in a suburban place want to live close to their work. Thats just as interesting a tradeoff as it is for the center city. In Fairfax thats a huge issue esp wrt Tysons Corner - being able to avoid a long auto commute to Tysons with its costs to the commuter and to society, is a goal that gives context to the rebuilding of Tysons as a more walkable place, to the silver line, and to the HOT lanes (which though open to SOVs will also provide free access to HOVs and to buses) - perhaps also to the Dunn Loring redevelopment, though Im not sure how many Tysons commuters will end up there, rather than within Tysons itself. (BTW GGW has had a couple of posts on the Tysons redevelopment)

Of course that will play out differently for folks who work in less congested suburban locations.
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Old 08-18-2011, 11:41 AM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
8,816 posts, read 10,725,934 times
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"80% of respondents in the NAR survey said they'd prefer to live in a single-family house"

20% PREFER something other than a SFH, before you even get to the folks who would prefer a SFH, but wont give up much in $$ or convenience to get one. I think thats a very interesting result.
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Old 08-18-2011, 11:46 AM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
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"We could've gotten twice the house in Loudoun or Fairfax, but we both wanted an easier drive to work"

absolutely. Ive always felt that the urbanist agenda shouldnt mean "a war on the auto" - the kinds of changes that many people are advocating can reduce VMTs for drivers, by shortening their commutes, putting them closer to retail - they can also ease congestion (aside from by offering non-auto choices) because street grids can provide alternative routes for local traffic, and make it easier to drive directly short distances from point to point without being forced onto an arterial.
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Old 08-18-2011, 11:52 AM
 
Location: Virginia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brooklynborndad View Post
"80% of respondents in the NAR survey said they'd prefer to live in a single-family house"
Probably why the newer developments usually include an assortment of townhomes. BTW Donald Trump just bought a townhouse down the street from here. Maybe he didn't want to do yardwork.
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