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Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Cary The Triangle Area
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Old 02-21-2008, 05:35 PM
 
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Default Would this affordable housing work again in the Triangle?

We often inject the terms affordable housing in our discussions about the Triangle housing market. Would a return to the original affordable housing desighn work again in this area?

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Last edited by autumngal; 02-21-2008 at 05:48 PM.. Reason: to comply with the TOS
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Old 02-21-2008, 06:22 PM
 
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We really need affordable single family and multi-family housing.
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Old 02-21-2008, 06:48 PM
 
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This was a reference to Levitt Town the original affordable housing community started after the conclusion of World War 2. It involved housed that were virtually identical on small plots etc. Limited in scope and expense. They were wildly popular and started to move the nation forward in providing Americans the opportunity for home ownership. Associated with it was that advent of 30 year mortgages and in some cases no down payment.
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Old 02-21-2008, 06:54 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TuborgP View Post
It involved housed that were virtually identical on small plots etc. Limited in scope and expense.
Isn't that what we have now in the Triangle? All that's happened is the "affordable" part has been done away with. Levitt Town today would go for 300K a pop...justified by it's "location".

Sorry, feeling bitter and cranky tonight I fear this plague that's going around might just solve our population problem. Bleh.
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Old 02-22-2008, 07:53 AM
 
Location: Downtown Raleigh, NC
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I'm not sure exactly what the original link had said, please PM it to me as I'm very interested to have a look. I googled and read a little about it.

What made Levittown such a success for affordability (as well as the many identical neighborhoods around the country, such as the one my mother grew up in down in FL) was that most of the homes were purchased by WWII vets on VA loans. This country had a huge number of veterans returning from the war, ready to start families and purchase homes on limited incomes. Additionally, these people were just happy to be able to own their own home, rather than expecting it to be large and luxurious. I don't think that communities at such affordable price points will ever exist again unless there is a major economic crash or we again have veterans returning en masse from current conflicts.

The Triangle already has tract communities built on the fringes of suburbia that are considered 'affordable' for the area. However, the term 'affordable' means something completely different now than it did in the 1940's. People have expectations of bigger homes, bigger yards, etc. and builders cannot build what the people want for truly affordable prices.
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Old 02-22-2008, 08:23 AM
 
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Levittown had good transportation to NYC via the Long Island Railroad. That really helped commuters who mostly worked in NYC.

With the sprawl here, a budget community would very likely wind up way out in the boonies, making it hard for residents to find work.
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Old 02-22-2008, 08:48 AM
 
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Default thats my question

Quote:
Originally Posted by miamiblue View Post
I'm not sure exactly what the original link had said, please PM it to me as I'm very interested to have a look. I googled and read a little about it.

What made Levittown such a success for affordability (as well as the many identical neighborhoods around the country, such as the one my mother grew up in down in FL) was that most of the homes were purchased by WWII vets on VA loans. This country had a huge number of veterans returning from the war, ready to start families and purchase homes on limited incomes. Additionally, these people were just happy to be able to own their own home, rather than expecting it to be large and luxurious. I don't think that communities at such affordable price points will ever exist again unless there is a major economic crash or we again have veterans returning en masse from current conflicts.

The Triangle already has tract communities built on the fringes of suburbia that are considered 'affordable' for the area. However, the term 'affordable' means something completely different now than it did in the 1940's. People have expectations of bigger homes, bigger yards, etc. and builders cannot build what the people want for truly affordable prices.
The last part of your response hits my question right on the head. Can we get people to go back to what is affordable to build. Not large on small plots without all the amenities. Are we talking about a need for housing that is truly affordable or are we talking about some scheme to get luxury homes at a bargain. Since prices in this market are not as out of whack as elsewhere I would think it might be more palatable here with minimal market disruption.
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Old 02-22-2008, 08:59 AM
 
Location: Downtown Raleigh, NC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TuborgP View Post
The last part of your response hits my question right on the head. Can we get people to go back to what is affordable to build. Not large on small plots without all the amenities. Are we talking about a need for housing that is truly affordable or are we talking about some scheme to get luxury homes at a bargain. Since prices in this market are not as out of whack as elsewhere I would think it might be more palatable here with minimal market disruption.
I think there are many variables here that make it a tough call due to personal preferences and costs.

I personally wouldn't mind living in a house similar to what my mother grew up in (1,000 sq. ft. or less, 2br/1ba). I've lived in a condo that was pretty much the exact layout as my mother's Levittown style childhood home (with a roommate no less) for 2 years and never thought, "gee, I wish this place was bigger". It would be tight to have 2 kids and 2 adults living in that space, but my mother's family did it and everyone was happy. If that was all I could afford, then I'd find a way to make it work. Size for me is not as much of an issue as location. I do not want to be stuck way out far away from everything. However, land is expensive closer in to town, so even if builders built small, simple homes, the land jacks the price up.

Others don't care how far out they are, they need 2,500 sq. ft. and granite countertops. They'll happily drive an hour each way to work to have that slice of what the American dream means to them. In this case, the land may be cheaper, but the amenities add to the cost.

I honestly don't see many people going for smaller, simpler homes that are built so far away from jobs and conveniences. It is a lifestyle and social status thing. The current social climate places a lot of emphasis on status, and I don't think it would be an easy task to get people to move away from that need to keep up with the Joneses. It has been deeply ingrained.
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Old 02-22-2008, 10:54 AM
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Location: Cary, NC
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"Affordable"

What does that mean?

The house is only one part of the pricing equation.

The land is a huge part. It is why homes under 1000 SF in the Whitaker Mill Road area sell for over $200,000.
It is not that the dirt is better. The dirt is just in a more desirable place, according to market dynamics.

Put the same 900SF home in Fuquay Varina, and the market says it is worth much less.

So, we don't only need "affordable" homes.
We need "affordable" land.
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Old 02-22-2008, 03:09 PM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
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Compared to other metro areas in the country, Raleigh is definitely on the lower end of the curve, and I think it is "affordable". I don't think you can buy a house on $10/hour anywhere in the country, so if that is what you are looking for when you say affordable, then I don't think its going to happen. Bottom line is that builders want to make money, so they are going to build the houses that sell. If there is a market for cheaper houses, then someone will fill it. My guess is that the lower you go on that curve, the more "issues" that come along with it.... credit issues, job stability, etc. So, they builders probably opt to serve the less risky market of higher end buyers. Compared to where I'm at in NY, there do seem to be a LOT more houses being built here per capita. At some point that has to slow down because eventually there are more houses than people to buy them.
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