This is the third in a series of three blog posts where I have provided my projections of development as they relate to: Master Planned Communities; Government’s Role in Development; New Urbanism; Transportation; and Homeownership.
So what is the “new economy?” The phrase has become main stream since the light bulb went off for the country when the “old economy” reached its pinnacle and came to a crash landing with the collapse of Wall Street. As the United States pulls itself out from our over-consumptive ways of the early 2000’s, we have struggled to come to grips with what is next for us.
Homeownership: Homeownership in the “old economy” was as common as a two-car household. It was easy to purchase a home and hang on to it for the expected duration of living in it. Adjustable mortgages were common and seemingly feasible to many who planned to sell before the rates were adjusted. According to the US Census, in 2002 the duration of residence for a person 15 years old and over was only 4.7 years, which declined from 5.2 years in 1996.
The question is what the expectation of the house will be with the prospect of selling the home after five years? Will the purchaser demand more from the individual home and what its neighborhood entails? Will the purchaser decide to purchase a home that can be easily adapted to another use, such as an office or for a low maintenance rental property? I believe that the answer is yes on both accounts. Purchasing a home can no longer be considered an option for many, and for those who have the option, the selection process will be much longer and it will be considered a home first, investment second. This can, and I believe it will, be very positive for the future of our neighborhoods. The sense of community is lost in the monolithic subdivisions where the home is considered a stepping stone to something better in the future. When the homeowner has the intention of living in the home for longer periods, they become much more involved in their neighborhood, creating a true sense of community. (Related Article by the National Journal titled “A House is a Home” states “We didn’t buy our house for an investment; that’s what our investments are for. Our house is to live in.”)
In summary of my projections of the new economy, I believe that all has happened for a reason economically and the world will be a better place because of it. Consider it to be a “time-out” with the end result as a much more civilized and prosperous future.