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  #141  
Old Posted Dec 1, 2020, 8:04 PM
IrishIllini IrishIllini is offline
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Birth rates continue to fall, so while Millennials may be reaching their "prime" child bearing years in a modern context (30-40 would have been considered "old" for your first child a generation or two ago), it seems they're having fewer kids in general. That doesn't scream big house in the suburbs to me, especially when coupled with delayed or interrupted careers and schooling.
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  #142  
Old Posted Dec 1, 2020, 8:11 PM
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Birth rates continue to fall, so while Millennials may be reaching their "prime" child bearing years in a modern context (30-40 would have been considered "old" for your first child a generation or two ago), it seems they're having fewer kids in general. That doesn't scream big house in the suburbs to me, especially when coupled with delayed or interrupted careers and schooling.
yeah i think they want kids later and a walkable place in the city more so or more permanently so than past generations. zoomers too i bet. remains to be seen.

which reminds me of one good outcome of covid, it has removed that stupid trend of first time parents bringing their kids in bars and other adult places like nice restaurants willy nilly anytime they wanted to. i did not like that.
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  #143  
Old Posted Dec 1, 2020, 8:31 PM
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Birth rates continue to fall, so while Millennials may be reaching their "prime" child bearing years in a modern context (30-40 would have been considered "old" for your first child a generation or two ago), it seems they're having fewer kids in general. That doesn't scream big house in the suburbs to me, especially when coupled with delayed or interrupted careers and schooling.
There are all these huge suburban homes occupied by upper class boomers, mostly built in the last 25 years or so. I don't understand who is going to occupy these homes in the coming years.

I don't mean the 3,000, 4,000 sq. ft. McMansion-ish stuff, which is still doable for a couple with 1-2 kids. I mean the 5,000, 6,000 sq. ft.+ homes, alongside the obligatory walk-out finished basement, 3-4 car garage, and heavily landscaped/high maintenance property. They have 5, 6 bedrooms and baths, double furnace, often pools and outdoor kitchens, and everything is reaching replacement age (roof, windows, etc.) while potential buyers are having 2 kids max.

Who wants a home where half the space is guaranteed to be unused? And are there millennials who really think home size is everything, trumping location, construction quality and neighbors? I haven't met them. Even if you could afford it, who wants it?
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  #144  
Old Posted Dec 1, 2020, 9:35 PM
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There are all these huge suburban homes occupied by upper class boomers, mostly built in the last 25 years or so. I don't understand who is going to occupy these homes in the coming years.

I don't mean the 3,000, 4,000 sq. ft. McMansion-ish stuff, which is still doable for a couple with 1-2 kids. I mean the 5,000, 6,000 sq. ft.+ homes, alongside the obligatory walk-out finished basement, 3-4 car garage, and heavily landscaped/high maintenance property. They have 5, 6 bedrooms and baths, double furnace, often pools and outdoor kitchens, and everything is reaching replacement age (roof, windows, etc.) while potential buyers are having 2 kids max.

Who wants a home where half the space is guaranteed to be unused? And are there millennials who really think home size is everything, trumping location, construction quality and neighbors? I haven't met them. Even if you could afford it, who wants it?
It's not using the space but flexing/ flaunting status. As for upkeep, the owners will either have to stay on top of maintenance if they choose to sell in the next few years as they get older or sell 'as is' for much less where some flipper will snap it up. I suspect there will be a market demand for these monstrosities by upwardly mobile X'ers, Millenials and eventually Zoomers...
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  #145  
Old Posted Dec 1, 2020, 9:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Crawford View Post
There are all these huge suburban homes occupied by upper class boomers, mostly built in the last 25 years or so. I don't understand who is going to occupy these homes in the coming years.

I don't mean the 3,000, 4,000 sq. ft. McMansion-ish stuff, which is still doable for a couple with 1-2 kids. I mean the 5,000, 6,000 sq. ft.+ homes, alongside the obligatory walk-out finished basement, 3-4 car garage, and heavily landscaped/high maintenance property. They have 5, 6 bedrooms and baths, double furnace, often pools and outdoor kitchens, and everything is reaching replacement age (roof, windows, etc.) while potential buyers are having 2 kids max.

Who wants a home where half the space is guaranteed to be unused? And are there millennials who really think home size is everything, trumping location, construction quality and neighbors? I haven't met them. Even if you could afford it, who wants it?
That's an interesting question. I wonder if sprawl will end all the sudden. By the late 2020's, when the baby boomers started to die off, millions of houses of all sizes will be available. Large swaths urban/suburban US will probably have to downsize, like the city of Detroit has been doing.

I don't think the urban world is in danger, by Covid or anything. It's actually the suburban world that will face big challenges in the future.
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  #146  
Old Posted Dec 2, 2020, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Crawford View Post
There are all these huge suburban homes occupied by upper class boomers, mostly built in the last 25 years or so. I don't understand who is going to occupy these homes in the coming years.

I don't mean the 3,000, 4,000 sq. ft. McMansion-ish stuff, which is still doable for a couple with 1-2 kids. I mean the 5,000, 6,000 sq. ft.+ homes, alongside the obligatory walk-out finished basement, 3-4 car garage, and heavily landscaped/high maintenance property. They have 5, 6 bedrooms and baths, double furnace, often pools and outdoor kitchens, and everything is reaching replacement age (roof, windows, etc.) while potential buyers are having 2 kids max.

Who wants a home where half the space is guaranteed to be unused? And are there millennials who really think home size is everything, trumping location, construction quality and neighbors? I haven't met them. Even if you could afford it, who wants it?
Those will eventually become apartments much the same way giant brownstones in Brooklyn and Back Bay Boston did when they fell out of fashion. I think those McMansions could give way to some pretty decent density in the future...
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  #147  
Old Posted Dec 2, 2020, 12:18 PM
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Those will eventually become apartments much the same way giant brownstones in Brooklyn and Back Bay Boston did when they fell out of fashion. I think those McMansions could give way to some pretty decent density in the future...
Yeah, apartments are a possibility. And I think some can find families who would buy their megahomes, especially in fast-growing Sunbelt areas or upwardly mobile immigrant-heavy areas (many high income immigrants like doctors seem to buy into the bigger is better).

A few of my parents' friends built such homes when they still had kids in their house, and were in (presumably) peak earning years. Basically from the mid-1990's till the Great Recession. Just cavernous homes in the middle of nowhere, now looking like circa-2000 time capsules. A lot of the stuff is starting to break, the outdoor kitchens and pools aren't very practical in Michigan, and the designs have no energy efficiency.

But there are so many of these homes on the fringes of stagnant metros like Detroit. Rich boomers went crazy with the big homes, and I cannot imagine them selling for what they cost to build. I've never met a millennial or younger who wants a 6,000 sq. ft. home on a former farm field.
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  #148  
Old Posted Dec 2, 2020, 2:22 PM
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I also get annoyed with all of the foreign-born professional suburbanites who keep buying into the nonsense that a large, custom designed suburban home is the ultimate dream.

Sure they can do what they want with their money, but over and over again these homes are getting built and not selling (eventually) for whatever money they spent to build it, especially in a super-high property tax State like Illinois. The buyers ultimately lose and the original contractors long ago laughed their way to the bank.

I'm glad I bought a moderate sized home and otherwise have put more of my money into investment real estate and mutual funds/401K.
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  #149  
Old Posted Dec 2, 2020, 2:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Qubert View Post
Those will eventually become apartments much the same way giant brownstones in Brooklyn and Back Bay Boston did when they fell out of fashion. I think those McMansions could give way to some pretty decent density in the future...

Where is there going to be demand for apartments in places like this though? Unlike the brownstones that were advantageously situated adjacent to city centres, the McMansions of the 80s-2000s were pretty much built exclusively on the exurban fringe. These areas are already stuggling to attract growth, and they don't really have the infrastructure to support more density.





There's also the issue of build quality, and unlike the masonry structures of the past, typical wood-framed McMansions were built with much shorter life spans. Adaptive reuse may just not be feasible when they're going to require significant structural repair.
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  #150  
Old Posted Dec 2, 2020, 3:18 PM
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Originally Posted by the urban politician View Post
Sure they can do what they want with their money, but over and over again these homes are getting built and not selling (eventually) for whatever money they spent to build it, especially in a super-high property tax State like Illinois. The buyers ultimately lose and the original contractors long ago laughed their way to the bank.
Right, you see this phenomenon in places outside Chicago, like Barrington, IL. There are similar situations in northwestern suburbs of Detroit, and probably in most U.S. metros. Obviously people can do whatever they want with their money, but it's almost guaranteed to be a terrible investment and endless money pit.

And I don't understand the point of space beyond what's needed. How do you get more joy out of a 6000 sq. ft. house as opposed to a 3000 sq. ft. house? Sounds like twice the headaches, and wasted space unless you have five kids or a bunch of in-laws living with you.
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  #151  
Old Posted Dec 2, 2020, 3:27 PM
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Right, you see this phenomenon in places outside Chicago, like Barrington, IL. There are similar situations in northwestern suburbs of Detroit, and probably in most U.S. metros. Obviously people can do whatever they want with their money, but it's almost guaranteed to be a terrible investment and endless money pit.

And I don't understand the point of space beyond what's needed. How do you get more joy out of a 6000 sq. ft. house as opposed to a 3000 sq. ft. house? Sounds like twice the headaches, and wasted space unless you have five kids or a bunch of in-laws living with you.
It's not about "joy"

It's about showing off with their friends. Comparing with the Joneses. That whole thing
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  #152  
Old Posted Dec 2, 2020, 9:12 PM
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It's not about "joy"

It's about showing off with their friends. Comparing with the Joneses. That whole thing
Yup. Oh you got a three car garage? How cute, I can park five in mine and I have olympic sized pool.
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  #153  
Old Posted Dec 2, 2020, 10:07 PM
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It seems like tear downs are somewhat common in affluent neighborhoods. I’d be willing to bet that oversized chintzy McMansions from the 90s would come down if the area was good and someone wanted the lot real bad.
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  #154  
Old Posted Dec 2, 2020, 10:13 PM
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It seems like tear downs are somewhat common in affluent neighborhoods. I’d be willing to bet that oversized chintzy McMansions from the 90s would come down if the area was good and someone wanted the lot real bad.
Usually the land is worth far more than the structure which incentivizes tear downs. In exurban areas, the land may be worth a lot but because there's so much of it and the house may be at or equal to the land value. I live in Kingwood and can see the area slowly deteriorating over an extended period of time as the homes continue to age and there's no economic incentive to rebuild or keep existing ones up to date.
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  #155  
Old Posted Dec 2, 2020, 10:31 PM
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Where is there going to be demand for apartments in places like this though? Unlike the brownstones that were advantageously situated adjacent to city centres, the McMansions of the 80s-2000s were pretty much built exclusively on the exurban fringe. These areas are already stuggling to attract growth, and they don't really have the infrastructure to support more density.
Cul-du-sacs can be connected, schools built and offices generated. Manhattan was once a forest too at one point.



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There's also the issue of build quality, and unlike the masonry structures of the past, typical wood-framed McMansions were built with much shorter life spans. Adaptive reuse may just not be feasible when they're going to require significant structural repair.
While masonry structures are longer lasting, their guts were just as busted as an aging McMansion. Wiring and plumbing workmanship quality prior to WWII was simply trash. Awkward layouts galore as far as rooms go. A Park Slope brownstone *definitely* needed work in 1990.
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  #156  
Old Posted Dec 3, 2020, 12:35 AM
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Cul-du-sacs can be connected, schools built and offices generated. Manhattan was once a forest too at one point.

Manhattan was a forest when the land was occupied by a pre-urban, pre-industrial indegenous society. New cities aren't popping up out of nothing anymore.

High-growth and/or high-cost metros, and especially those that have these sorts of exurban areas in reasonably close proximity to the urban core could conceivably urbanize them, but in the majority of lower-growth metros there's little incentive to build out infrastructure on low-demand urban fringes.



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While masonry structures are longer lasting, their guts were just as busted as an aging McMansion. Wiring and plumbing workmanship quality prior to WWII was simply trash. Awkward layouts galore as far as rooms go. A Park Slope brownstone *definitely* needed work in 1990.

The big difference with masonry structures is that those materials comprise the actual structural integrity of the building - and they're an incredibly durable one, which can easily survive decades of neglect. Redoing the mechanical systems or interior partitions is relatively easy when the structure is maintained.

The other thing is that many brownstones have been gut & reno'd specifically because the exterior architecture is so heavily prized (including heritage designation in many cases that restricts demolitions). There's an incentive to maintain it, even where it may be easier to tear down and build new.

Neither are the case with McMansions, so they're not worth the cost of preservation. Their more likely fate is to be torn down, and then depending on local growth rates & market conditions they'll either be subdivided into smaller new-build lots, replaced with purpose-built apartments, or left abandoned.
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  #157  
Old Posted Dec 3, 2020, 4:31 AM
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Those will eventually become apartments much the same way giant brownstones in Brooklyn and Back Bay Boston did when they fell out of fashion. I think those McMansions could give way to some pretty decent density in the future...
they'd make great elderly care homes...
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  #158  
Old Posted Dec 3, 2020, 5:22 AM
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they'd make great elderly care homes...
Initially I thought the same thing, but I suspect that it would only work for mansions that are single-story or have a large elevator. Otherwise, helping three or four residents up and down the stairs on demand would require more than a couple bedrooms for staffers, rendering the entire project moot.
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  #159  
Old Posted Dec 3, 2020, 5:25 AM
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Initially I thought the same thing, but I suspect that it would only work for mansions that are single-story or have a large elevator. Otherwise, helping three or four residents up and down the stairs on demand would require more than a couple bedrooms for staffers, rendering the entire project moot.
eh installing those stair lift things can't be that expensive can it? Not sure they'd work for a care home but some seem to be less than $5k.
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  #160  
Old Posted Dec 3, 2020, 5:22 PM
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I think WFH is here to stay but mostly to augment office work; if an employee needs to stay home (sick kid, sick themselves, etc) they can do so and not really impact their productivity. My wife is back in the office but now can take an odd WFH day here and there where as it was unthinkable before.

I worked from home for 10 years; liked it at first then hated it.
I think people will once again migrate back into the office. We were WFH from March to June. They socially distanced all the desks because we had excess office space and we were required to wear masks which was provided to us each day. They just pushed us back out of the office starting last week until at least January due to the spikes across the country.

I hated being home. I missed my desk...my multiple screens..and just having the in person social interaction even if we had to stay apart. It's okay when it's snowing outside and not having to drive to work in bad weather but for long term i would hate it.
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