09 Mar The Burbs – Not So Remote Anymore
Most metro areas used to keep it simple: Downtown, Intown and the Suburbs. According to Builder Online, this calculation is being rethought as suburban town centers grow increasingly walkable, making the ‘burbs every bit as appealing as the urban core.
Builders that used to focus on suburbanizing old farmlands have had to change their focus if they want to reach the two biggest demographics: millennials and empty-nester boomers. These two highly influential groups crave the urban lifestyle but do not necessarily want to live in the heart of the city. It’s not necessarily the “city” they want, rather the lifestyle. Builders can now provide that 20 – 60 miles from downtown or more.
As a creative new niche, homebuilders of all sizes are buying up abandoned industrial sites, foreclosed strip malls, and infill communities outside of main city development. Some have added multifamily and townhouse development, while others have shrunk the sizes of single-family homes to fit on tight city lots.
This new trend has been coined “placemaking”—creating an urban experience in a suburb by building condos and apartments on the same block, or even in the same building, with restaurants, boutiques, offices, banks, dry cleaners, and food markets. The homes are within walking distance to public transportation that can speed commuters to their downtown jobs if they don’t work in the neighborhood.
Sprawl may be over, but that doesn’t mean the suburbs are dead. Builders everywhere are discovering that the right combination of urban amenities, transportation, and walkability will attract home buyers to nearly any suburban location.