January 29, 2015

The Urban Flock

The Urban Flock

Remember when families flocked to the suburbs to trade the "congestion and pollution" of city life for tree-lined streets and manicured lawns — and perhaps the odd deer sighting in the back yard? If you were born and raised in the 20th century, it's likely you do.

In large part, the suburban boom was a result of two things: automobiles becoming affordable for the middle class and advancements in transportation systems, including subways and highways. Soon life outside the city became possible – and affordable – and developments sprouted like weeds throughout former countryside. For millions of America's families, the suburbs were little slices of heaven, offering an idyllic life with neighborhood pools, parks, walking trails and lots of peace.

Time Brings Change

Decades later, the market is shifting and America's families, couples and singles alike are longing for life back in the city. Why the return to what was once deemed dirty and crowded? Interestingly enough, people are tired of spending precious hours commuting to work in their "affordable automobiles" and on the freeways, highways and subways that once drew them in. Now, many would rather enjoy a cup of coffee with a friend or an extra hour with their children versus spending time and money commuting. It makes perfect sense given the hustle and bustle of today's life and the need to somehow, someway, find more time in the 24-hour day.

Another big factor: People are getting bored of the suburbs. And it's not just millennials as many presume; it's the empty nesters and retirees, too. A growing number of today's homebuyers and renters want to live where they work and play. It's about convenience and access to it all, including the best-of-the best restaurants, art galleries, theaters, shopping and, of course, work. An added benefit of this lifestyle is that much of this can be done walking or biking, significantly slimming down monthly fuel costs while helping the environment.

Life in the city is not everyone's cup of tea and the suburbs are still ideal for many; and that's a good thing as the city can't hold everyone. But city life is becoming more and more appealing to many and it's crystal clear why.

Did You Know?

  • Henry Ford and his innovative ideas for making cars, cutting manufacturing costs and reducing retail costs for consumers were big drivers for suburban growth.
  • Reducing an average commute from 2 hours per day to 30 minutes, saves you 30 hours each month. That's a lot of quality time for the gym, kids and just plain relaxing.

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