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Old 02-06-2013, 03:28 PM
 
134 posts, read 162,264 times
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My thoughts on the issue are that while it's almost imperative for communities to increase density in order to prevent sprawl, communities should also take steps to create a more urban environment in order to support that more-dense housing.

  • Movement away from suburban feeder-arterial road system to grid-based or other walk-friendly road systems
  • Increased transit quality and capacity
  • Focusing on more geographically accessible areas
  • Encouragement of nearby businesses and mixed-use areas
  • Provision of public green space to replace lost private green space
  • Encouragement of small-lot developments (on a personal note, I hugely dislike those "mixed-use" apartment-on-top-of-a-strip-mall type developments)
  • Encouragement of street-oriented development, rather than driveway- or parking lot-oriented development
  • Provision of urban features such as alleys and sidewalks
  • Provision of higher-capacity services such as police, fire, schools, libraries, and healthcare
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Old 02-06-2013, 04:17 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
10,011 posts, read 16,682,427 times
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BIMBAM & Asderfut nailed the issue. Many earlier posters have mentioned land cost but few have commented on development cost, the cost to communities for sewer and water lines, maintaining roads. Denser communities are less expensive per housing unit.
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Old 02-06-2013, 04:36 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 23 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,016 posts, read 102,649,686 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nell Plotts View Post
BIMBAM & Asderfut nailed the issue. Many earlier posters have mentioned land cost but few have commented on development cost, the cost to communities for sewer and water lines, maintaining roads. Denser communities are less expensive per housing unit.
Please provide some documentation. "Common sense" is NOT documentation.
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Old 02-06-2013, 05:10 PM
 
Location: NC
6,569 posts, read 7,996,310 times
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Communities need to plan for more townhouses and apartments in their long range plans.

For one thing, young home buyers increasingly prefer what I call the urban fantasy environment. New multi-unit properties with high end finishes, lots of light, garage, storage, pool, gym. Within a short stroll to public transportation, restaurants, grocery, bars, plazas, parks, entertainment. Many young buyers have no idea how to care for a house or yard and don't want to learn. Since they mostly communicate electronically, it makes sense that they seek the 'contact' that high density brings about. They also can take advantage of free parks and plazas rather than pay for their own yards (while contributing less to the taxes that are used to develop those parks and plazas which gives them a good deal).

The same might be said for seniors, whose numbers are building, and who either are tired of all the exterior maintenance on a home or simply can no longer handle it. Those folks will likely be moving to more multi-unit options as well, even if they would prefer to have a sfh if it could be taken care of by someone else.

Add to this the fact that to get a conventional mortgage for a sfh usually requires that the structure/house represent maybe 80% of the package value. So, if the land cost is 20K then the final cost of the house can be 100K but if the land cost is 80K then the final home needs to be worth 400K. It's easy to see that if the land value is increasing then the cost of new houses will increase at a faster rate, making sfh less affordable to the average buyer. Whatever the reason, it looks like a lot more multi-unit homes are on the way.
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Old 02-06-2013, 06:11 PM
 
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Where I live multifamily housing is generally discouraged. Objections range from density being too high to complaints from school districts they don't bring in as much tax revenue. Even single family results in fees to the city and school district that can end up being the first or second largest component, after land, of a homes cost.
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Old 02-06-2013, 06:37 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
12,436 posts, read 11,937,287 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Holy Guacamole! (This is Colorado reporting, after all!) Many people value "have large amounts of useless green space in public places", just to look at, if nothing else.
I said useless green space. I didn't mean parks, backyards, athletic fields, wilds, or anything which serves a function. I meant townhouse complexes which put a lot of landscaping either as "front yards" that no one ever hangs out in, or near the entrance of the facility. Front lawns tend to be underutilized (and are often merely for showing off to neighbors) in SFH neighborhoods. They are totally useless if you are constructing rental properties though, and of minimal use with townhouses (considering condo fees and the like mean you probably don't maintain your own front area).

Admittedly, the problem is much, much worse in office/industrial parks. In general though I think that greenery that's just meant to look sorta nice as you drive by it is a big nono.
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Old 02-06-2013, 07:19 PM
Status: "Summer!" (set 23 days ago)
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
87,016 posts, read 102,649,686 times
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Quote:
In general though I think that greenery that's just meant to look sorta nice as you drive by it is a big nono.
Good heavens, why?
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Old 02-06-2013, 07:34 PM
 
9,520 posts, read 14,842,524 times
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It seems that many builders don't build "small" (< 2000 square feet) SFHs any more, so if you want a smaller new home, it'll be a townhouse (though there are some townhouses around me > 3000 sqft!). And of course a lot of people don't want to deal with outside maintenance, so a townhouse development organized as condominums appeals to them. The great disadvantage of course is lesser ownership; you don't own the outside so you're very limited in what you can do with it. Condo fees get pretty high too.

The alternative for new houses seems to be McMansions on relatively small lots. The profit in this for the builder is pretty obvious.

Apartments, on the other hand, don't seem to be being built. The exception I know of was intended to be condos, and just didn't sell. I don't know if the towns discourage them or if it's because of the area; in the NYC area a lot of people who move to the suburbs from the city do so because they have kids (and hence need more space and want suburban schools), and they're usually not looking to rent. There's no lack of existing apartments however.
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Old 02-07-2013, 12:39 AM
 
Location: Canada
4,699 posts, read 8,495,175 times
Reputation: 4893
Quote:
Originally Posted by nybbler View Post
It seems that many builders don't build "small" (< 2000 square feet) SFHs any more, so if you want a smaller new home, it'll be a townhouse (though there are some townhouses around me > 3000 sqft!). And of course a lot of people don't want to deal with outside maintenance, so a townhouse development organized as condominums appeals to them. The great disadvantage of course is lesser ownership; you don't own the outside so you're very limited in what you can do with it. Condo fees get pretty high too.

The alternative for new houses seems to be McMansions on relatively small lots. The profit in this for the builder is pretty obvious.

Apartments, on the other hand, don't seem to be being built. The exception I know of was intended to be condos, and just didn't sell. I don't know if the towns discourage them or if it's because of the area; in the NYC area a lot of people who move to the suburbs from the city do so because they have kids (and hence need more space and want suburban schools), and they're usually not looking to rent. There's no lack of existing apartments however.
Aren't there any new townhouses that aren't condos? I grew up in an area of older townhouses and they were all privately owned, and people painted them all sorts of crazy colours.
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Old 02-07-2013, 10:33 AM
 
7,600 posts, read 9,459,597 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
I said useless green space. I didn't mean parks, backyards, athletic fields, wilds, or anything which serves a function. I meant townhouse complexes which put a lot of landscaping either as "front yards" that no one ever hangs out in, or near the entrance of the facility. Front lawns tend to be underutilized (and are often merely for showing off to neighbors) in SFH neighborhoods. They are totally useless if you are constructing rental properties though, and of minimal use with townhouses (considering condo fees and the like mean you probably don't maintain your own front area).

Admittedly, the problem is much, much worse in office/industrial parks. In general though I think that greenery that's just meant to look sorta nice as you drive by it is a big nono.
Having a little separation between house and street is usually a good thing, for many reasons ( privacy and noise prevention being two of them). I really wouldn't care to live in a building from which the street is only a step or two from your front door...
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