Asheville Homes and LAND!- The Keep In Touch Blog


TRENDS in the Real Estate Market: Residential "Bling-Bling" + Small ?

MIT's  Journal of Industrial Ecology  reports: In new, single-family houses constructed in the United States, living area per family member has increased by a factor of 3 since the 1950s.  As square footage increases, so does resource use in homes. As footprint expands, so does the impermeable surface. Rise in construction costs and energy consumption mean more concern about environmental impactincluding storm-water runoff...(a Big Deal in our part of the country where we are prone to landslides)....

Tonight, as the sky darkened and little lights began to twinkle across the valley, I gazed out my window to see at the very top of the mountain, a 7,000 square foot home ablaze in light. I wonder if the couple who live there understand the impact they have on the other families that also live on the hundred acres we share. And what about how all of us affect these guys ? (See photo I just took)

 Bears on the driveway. November dusk.

As  REALTORS® most of us are ever-curious about trends in the market. After all, our financial well-being in the future depends on our foresight today. So tonight I am wondering: Over the years, as homes "super-size" their way into living spaces, has the quality of life changed? Over the past 50 or 60 years, has air quality in  urban areas gotten better or worse? Are there more or fewer warnings about eating fish caught in local streams? How are the birds and bears doing in your neck of the woods? Are there fewer or more job opportunities where you hang your hat? Are we working more and earning less? How is the poverty and homelessness situation in your community? Finally, is it easier or harder to find homes our clients can afford?

As I talk with my clients today, there's a growing consensus. Many people are choosing a more balanced lifestyle and less debt. People, and not just by those of retirement age but people of all ages, work situations and backgrounds, want to work less, live more and have time to spend with their families, communities and on personal interests.

          Tom told me, "I really had the urge to grow organic vegetables!
          So, I called you to help me find a more generous lot, but with a smaller home. "

          Deb and Laz confided, "It really just was time for us to  think about our priorities.
          We want to spend time with our young daughter while she is small, to home school her,
          and maybe volunteer to help in the green-way project.
          We selected a smaller, less expensive home because it meant we could do those things."

         "As you know, I'm an empty-nester," a widow friend of mine nodded.
         "I want to downsize, but I want granite, stainless and a lap pool...
          you know, some serious ‘bling-bling!"

And as I listen to the fortune-teller's tune upon the winds, I hear of change ... a new way of living's on the way. ..a trend in the single-family house that includes downsizing.. Downsizing ..not a low-quality, sombre habitat or lifestyle. Au contraire! These residential jewels may improve quality of life as well as resource efficiency. What does this portend? As I listen, I hear a demand for both quality of life and residence.  As clients learn more about sustainability and its attractiveness over the long run, we may well see a shift in the residential market. In terms of  ensuring an  economy and society that can continue to exist without destroying the natural environment on which we all depend, consumers may, in fact begin to demand  "a wee, bling-bling cottage" with upscale amenities.



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Your widow friends isn't alone!  I just spent time with a retiring couple who have plenty of $$ to spend.  But in their price range-all of the houses are 'starter castles' with crazy huge floorplans.  They want to see something smaller and more manageable but with every amenity.  Funny how that's so hard to find.  Guess the builders are afraid of overdoing a house...
Posted by Leigh Brown, CEO, Dream Maker - Charlotte, NC (Leigh Brown & Associates, RE/MAX Executive) about 14 years ago

I agree with you.  The trend is definitely toward quality over quantity, cottages over McMansions.  

Posted by Stefan Scholl, Northern Michigan Real Estate (Buyer's Broker of Northern Michigan, LLC) about 14 years ago

JaneAnne, so your neighbors run around bear?  :)

Wee Bling Bling Cottages are popular, the problem is they are hard to find.

I believe the monster houses we are building are going to be the dinosaurs of the not-to-distant future.


Posted by Kristal Kraft, Selling Metro Denver Real Estate - 303-589-2022 (Novella Real Estate) about 14 years ago
Leigh, Stefan and Kristal...thanks for your comments. We are seeing some movement toward simple eleagant places here in the Asheville area....we do have a number of walkable communities and are expecting more "eco-vilages" with flooplans that work at around 1800 sqft. + granite and stainless...not sure of the quality of construction on some of these, but  even minus that, they are selling faster than a bear can climb a tree....
janeAnne - have you ever read any of Sarah Susanka's books? I like her first one best, The Not So Big House. It's all about quality over quantity, multiuse spaces, nooks, charm.
Posted by Sharon Simms, St. Petersburg FL - CRS CIPS CLHMS RSPS (Coastal Properties Group International - Christie's International) about 14 years ago

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