One positive impact of the changing market is that neighborhoods may be less transient. I had this thought last night, drinking a cold beverage with a neighbor on the first Sunday I have scheduled “off” in memory. The real estate market came up, as it frequently does, and we agreed that generally, the shift will ultimately be a “good thing.”
The past several years have been good years for many buyers and sellers, as they traded up in the housing market, rarely having to put more than a 3% down-payment down. One consequence of the transience the market encouraged is that neighbors frequently did not have time to become “neighbors.” The people next door or across the street were just that – people you saw from time to time, but never had occasion to meet. For this, communities suffered – perhaps only a little bit, perhaps more.
Now communities will be able to grow from within. Homeowners may behave more as homeowners with an investment not only in their “investment vehicle” – their house – but also in their neighborhood. Should this happen, this will be a “good thing,” and will ultimately make those neighborhoods more valuable – both from a resale point of view as well as a quality of life point of view. There are several neighborhoods in the Charlottesville area that have reputations for being close-knit neighborhoods with vibrant home owners’ groups and involved neighbors – for these qualities, these neighborhoods are targeted by many (and certainly avoided by some).
Time will tell, but perhaps the Charlottesville area’s slowing market will contribute to a stronger sense of community. Or, I could be completely wrong.