Re: VACANCY RATE POLL - Is Cohousing Overbuilt? Howmany vacancies at your community?
From: Fred H Olson (
Date: Mon, 11 Aug 2008 10:11:11 -0700 (PDT)
Vacancy rates would be interesting.

"Overbuilding" may be a factor but as Robert Heinich pointed out people
may want to buy but other factors including the current general real
estate / mortgage mess account for some vacancies (because people who
would like to buy were unable to do so.  In a sense these factors are a
part of "demand" but that makes measuring demand a really messy business.

Thomas's original post implied that there was an agreed upon "market
demand" and too developers collectively build more than this "demand" to
in an effort to capture more than their "share". Same thing happens in
farming but farmers joke that they hope to make up for losses with volume.

Since "demand is a moving target it is hard to know how much developers
"should" collectively build but at some point it becomes clear that the
market is overbuilt.

In the cohousing context, I can imagine that a community overestimates how
many units it can find people (who will thrive in cohousing) to buy.
This might be a significant number of units in one community that
were hard to sell.  How many communities have had say 10% or more of units
for sale for extended periods - 9 months or more say?

Of course the motivation for building more units in cohousing is a bit
different - to spread the fixed costs, of a given parcel of land, certain
development costs, as well as desired community size.  Another alternative
is to choose a smaller parcel tho other fixed costs would not be reduced
by this.  Do communities estimate how many usits they can sell as a factor
in picking a site?

Another distinction that would be interesting...  My assumption that
initial sales are more difficult than resales in successful communities.
Are ther exceptions to this?


Fred H. Olson  Minneapolis,MN 55411  USA        (near north Mpls)
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