In a trend that could have substantial benefits for the environment, many buyers are choosing smaller, high density living spaces in select locations over more traditional suburbs and exurbs.
According to a 2006 Virginia Tech study, 38% of today's consumers prefer attached housing, compared with 25.4% historically. Interestingly, although 54.2% of today's occupied homes are single-family structures on large lots, the number of people who say they actually want to live like that is as low as 25%.
What's that? Are Americans finally growing weary of not knowing their neighbors, wasting endless hours in long commutes and spending thousands of dollars, not to mention countless hours, pruning hedges and mowing the lawn, only to discover that they can barely pick out their house from the hundreds like it? How important is it to be able to step outside for a magazine and fresh cup of coffee in the morning, or conveniently pick up some fresh produce on your way home from work?
It turns out that many of today's buyers are opting for less square footage, fewer flashy trimmings and more community and shared space. Lofts in reclaimed industrial and commercial buildings continue to be red hot a trend that is fantastic as far as saving materials and preventing sprawl is concerned. So-called intentional communities are on the rise, in which residents save resources by sharing open space and such amenities as fitness centers, swimming pools, gardens and compost heaps.
People are rediscovering the tremendous benefits that can come with living in more urban settings, in terms of culture, convenience and economic opportunities. They are revitalizing our once-decayed city centers, and learning to actually like their neighbors. It's more Main Street U.S.A. than Sprawl Town, and that's likely to be a good thing.Related Stories:
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