An interesting summary on the overall market trending to smaller homes. On a recent tour with some Gen-Y buyers, I observed them a little as they walked through the home identifying what they will do with each space, both short term and long term. This approach matches the article’s findings that buyers do not want more space than they “need”.
In Minnesota, one key area of discussion is number of garages. With our outdoor gear – bikes, boats, snowblowers, sleds, lawn gear etc in addition to two cars, a 3 car garage is ideal. Builders in the ‘burbs picked up on this and many homes have a 3-car garage. However, many urban markets have 1-2 car garages based on what was adequate when it was built. Home owners living in these neighborhoods will often put up sheds, add storage under decks, hang items from the rafters or move to the basement off season or leave a car outside. Another idea is to get to know your neighbors and see if they may have a vacant garage stall you can rent. Perhaps a senior who will trade you some space for some help with snow removal or mowing.
With the introduction of the light-rail, increasing gas prices and a focus on going-green, we see buyers using public transportation, bikes, and walking. Some also are scaling back to being a one car family.
Customers used Hiawatha light-rail trains 10.5 million times in 2010, a 6 percent increase and the highest annual ridership in the line’s six-year history.
AAA estimates that it costs more than $9,000 per year to operate and maintain a standard-sized car for a year. When you leave your car at home – even one day a week – you’ll pocket the savings from fewer trips to the pump and less frequent maintenance. Plus, you’ll never pay for parking!
Related to buying-smaller, organizing the space you have can go a long way. Ikea markets strongly to consumers as a resource for organization.