Lots And Lots Of Little Lots

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Recently there were a couple of interesting stories in the Payson Roundup about the proposed downsizing of lot sizes in Payson.

One proposal was to consider 3,000- to 4,000-square-foot lots to make housing more affordable.

The other article was a zoning consideration to downsize two-acre lots to one acre.

Both of these propositions met with oppositions from either residents or the town council.

Getting in the middle of these discussions is a no win situation, but it made me reminisce about my younger days of growing up in the Midwest and also to reflect on a Wall Street Journal article that has been in my briefcase since July 18, 2008.

Ancient history

Your memories as a kid may make you think everything was bigger than it really was.

Go back to the old neighborhood years later and things do not seem as gigantic.

In the blue collar, factory neighborhoods of the Midwest, people worked hard and saved to own a home after World War II and into the 1950s and ’60s.

The pride of ownership showed in their neighborhoods even before HOAs were a norm.

The American Dream existed and home ownership was a reality.

Going back and retracing some of the old neighborhoods, it was revealing to find that the average lot was .11 of an acre which is 4,791 square feet.

The homes ranged from 900 to 1,400 square feet, not including basements and generally had a one- or two-car garage with a small front and back yard.

While this may sound small by today’s standards, the homes were livable and fostered many memories of family.

Remember being huddled around the small screen black and white TV with three channels?

Today you can go back there and buy these homes in the $40,000 range.

Not so ancient history

Just as the economy cycles, so do styles of housing.

The Wall Street Journal reported on an upscale community in Shoreline, Wash. where buyers were looking for a simpler, downsized and energy efficient life.

The homes being built were in the 1,000-square-foot range with large front porches to encourage a friendly neighborhood atmosphere.

While the homes are located on small lots, the home clusters have a common area for the benefit and mutual enjoyment of the community members.

The community ensures its value by having a stringent HOA.

Unbelievably, these cottage homes sold for as much as $599,000.

This concept has also developed into free-standing condominium communities so that the outside of the homes are maintained by the HOA, but each owner has his own little piece of land to enjoy.

Clearly today, for some, bigger is not better or less expensive.

And for others, smaller or less expensive may be better, so they may begin their path to the pride of ownership and the American Dream.

Ray Pugel is a designated broker for Coldwell Banker Bishop Realty. Contact him at (928) 474-2216.

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