Re: Newly married couples in cohousing
From: Cbwhy (
Date: Tue, 23 Jan 1996 10:07:46 -0600
I found the post from someone interested in joining the Cambridge group
particularly interesting. It is quite a task for cohousing in general and
groups in particular to address so many needs from so many people. My
thoughts are as follows.
As for being the youngest members (by 5 years) in a group, I can see how that
might be a problem. My experience is that people tend to attract others like
themselves. You and your fiancee would probably attract  younger people. We
often have prospective members ask about others 'like them,' whatever that
may be.  

You say  by buying in a cohousing community you would have to buy the biggest
house possible. I do not see why this is a choice you need to make. If your
group is in the design stage- then you can hold the community accountable for
building with expandablility in mind (if that what the group finds
important). All of our needs expand and  condense as we move through life. To
buy our of your needs/means seems wasteful and unneccessary. The fear that
you can't 'trade up' in 5+ years is taking a concern to its farthest negative
Life happens- for all of us- and moves, changes- they all happen. Cohousing
is no different. As a result some of the members with children now will move
on becausse of work or other- and they may have to sell their homes to people
with children, needing the same larger size. I think that's one thing you can
count on- selling to people with kids.
And finally >>Cohousing, particularly when it is 
just being developed, appears to be a significantly less liquid 
investment even than regular housing, which isn't terribly liquid 
I don't know that this is true any more so than any other homes. I do believe
some people are researching it right now.
Corey Yugler


Last week, MFN asked about recently married couples and first time 
homebuyers in cohousing.

I'm getting married this summer, and my fiance and I have been 
looking at the Cambridge Cohousing group.  We've put the decision on 
hold until we have a better idea what our life will look like next 
year. (I'm finishing grad school this spring, and need to find a 
job).  However, we had several concerns that might be of general 

    1.  If we joined, we would be the youngest people in the group by 
at least five years.  We kept on double-taking when people in the 
group referred to people in their thirties with children as "young 
couples."  I suppose it's accurate, but what does that make us?

    2.  If we're going to join a cohousing group, we'd want to get a 
house that was big enough that we wouldn't have to move if we had 
children, particularly since the probability of being able to trade 
up within the project is not terribly high.  But that would mean 
buying a larger house than we really need/can afford right now.  

    3.  Because of the age gap, and because we aren't planning on 
having children for a while, if we have children they would likely be 
the youngest children in the housing by a significant margin.  Having 
been the youngest in my extended family, I know that this can be 

   I realize that there's not much a cohousing group can do about 
these concerns.  The basic problem, as with most of these "diversity 
issues" is money - - not many people in our age range can afford to 
buy a house.  We're very lucky in that Tony's folks would be willing 
to help us out on the downpayment as a wedding present, and even with 
that I have to admit that the idea of investing more than 100 percent 
of our net worth on something that is somewhat risky absolutely 
terrifies me.

    4.  Because we are at the start of our careers, there is a real 
possibility that for job or educational reasons, we would have to 
move within three to five years.  Cohousing, particularly when it is 
just being developed, appears to be a significantly less liquid 
investment even than regular housing, which isn't terribly liquid.  

    For these reasons, I would be very surprised to learn that there 
were many people in similar circumstances in cohousing.  If I'm 
wrong, I'd love to hear more about what their experiences have been.

    In spite of all this, we're still seriously considering 
cohousing, because we're both terribly hungry for community.


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