|Re: VACANCY RATE POLL - Is Cohousing Overbuilt? How many vacancies at your community?||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Craig Ragland (craigraglandgmail.com)|
|Date: Mon, 11 Aug 2008 10:50:09 -0700 (PDT)|
Wow, what an idea... Cohousing overbuilt? The actual geographic distribution of Cohousing, in 23 states, is quite small. Consider: most people buying homes only consider moving to areas close to where they live - now. The percent of the US population with an existing Cohousing community within, say, 50 miles must be huge. How many in Texas? A great big Zero... what about Florida, another "0." How about NYC or Chicago or LA? There are just almost no acceptable homes where a great many people actually live - now. The map on the front page of the Cohousing Website and its linked article lets you visualize just how many people there in the US have no cohousing homes available to them for hundreds and hundreds miles - in all directions... Yet we know from the Cohousing Website analytics that thousands of people from these areas visit our site... some are very heavy, repeat users of the Cohousing Website, many of whom pour over the Directory and Classified Ads... presumably, some are also readers of Coho-L. I view the major challenge for the vast majority who become interested in cohousing, in the US, is their only choices are to (1) move somewhere else or (2) help create it for themselves - and both choices are generally undesirable for most Americans. Residents of Denmark, with their MUCH higher per capita "market penetration" and smaller geography are much more fortunate - they often have some real choice. IF cohousing is overbuilt, it is an extremely local phenomena - restricted to a very small number of areas in the country with high numbers of cohousing homes on a per capita basis. I don't believe cohousing is over-built anywhere - and that the difficulty selling Cohousing homes has more to do with the way they are sold - it is so often just the sellers problem. If you step back from conventional thinking, doesn't it seem kind of odd that the effort of creating (and "selling") new cohousing homes is a big group project, while reselling is typically an individual effort - and sometimes by people no longer happy with their situation? Forming groups bring together lots of resourceful people who pull together to do something very difficult. With my community, Songaia (15 homes, 38 people on 11 acres near Seattle), we even rejected the idea that we were "selling houses," insisting they we "doing outreach" and "community building." This appealed to some and turned off others. In the case of the two Songaia resales, the first owner - who had already distanced herself from the community - listed the home on MLS with a real estate agent after deciding to sell. It took months to sell in a very UP MARKET - the agent was clueless about cohousing and often misinformed potential buyers. The second owner - who, despite his absence and decision to leave, seriously cared for his relationship with the community. He offered his home gracefully and members of the community pulled together to help arrange a sale within days in a very DOWN MARKET. Today, there may also be unrealistic expectations about current market values on the part of sellers. When home resale prices are dropping all around you, it can be very hard to accept that your home is less valuable than months ago. We also need educated real estate professionals - selling homes in a DOWN MARKET is hard and selling what you don't understand is even harder. I have a lot of ideas about how we will continue to expand Cohousing - I embrace a future where we have helped create a huge demand and enable forming groups to avoid the "fill the membership" issue. I'm currently working on a new Powerpoint deck that draws slides from various decks used at the 2008 National Cohousing Conference to share these ideas. So far, I've shared about this topic with three established Cohousing communities - face-to-face, in June and July. Their input hugely shaped my thinking. Its was absolutely invaluable to me. The real key, I believe, is aligning our message, our stories... while many of the "positive" stories we share are compelling to those already attracted to this lifestyle, I suspect they are often unattractive to the majority who sit "outside our little bubble." Because I strongly feel that our most important cohousing work can still only be done in person, I'm taking these ideas to the road. Typed words alone are so flat, they just sit there - in this day of massive, high-production media, they rarely reach our hearts. While a whole lot better than silence, they rarely inspire what's most important - great writers transcend this limitation. Unfortunately, I'm not among their ranks. I believe that "interactive text," like Coho-L, is sometimes better. It is, however, far too easy for us to let our wonderfully creative minds, with our various juicy points of view and ideas, turn our complex interactions and conversation into the real story. For example, very few will actually read these words - they are buried deep in a "Vacancy Rate Poll" thread. I expect that several of us "long-winded writers" are rarely read by others very deeply. And what will happen with the ideas in this posting? Perhaps a few will be picked out for "discussion" - and it will go spinning off in new directions. That's really what defines interactive text these days. Its great for some purposes, but not so great for others. There's a whole lot more to come on growing the Movement from me, but first I need to share it, in person, with some cohousing communities up and down the West Coast. I look forward to sharing the laughter and, yes, more tears, with some of you. I really need your heart-felt help as we work on crafting a stronger Cohousing story. This story needs to be refined and then more broadly shared, sung out in harmony, not discordant cacophony, by a great many voices - and Coho/US will do what it can to help those who care get in tune with some well crafted ideas and supporting materials we feel are of value. Finally, when I do visit communities, I often get interesting feedback on my Coho-L postings - its easy for us active contributors to forget that there are a great many readers among us who never, or rarely, post. I particularly look forward to hearing from and actually meeting some of you folks - and if you want, do feel free to open your arms to give me a hug! Craig On Sun, Aug 10, 2008 at 10:08 AM, Thomas Lofft <tlofft [at] hotmail.com> wrote: > > > I noted on a few sig lines, promotion of available units. > > One of the major weaknesses of the present US economy is the overbuilding > of the residential market from 2003 through 2006. This is prototypical of > the residential development cycle: every time the glut gets sold off > (1998-2001) and the market demand increases, builder/developers all figure > thay can each develop a project to capture, say, 1% of the market. No risk > in only targeting 1% of the market, is there? > Unless, perhaps, 200 builder/developers all start projects to capture 1% of > the market. Suddenly, the market is 100% overbuilt. How did that happen? > Duh? > > If you're willing to share, I'd love to know how many communities still > have unoccupied units for sale, how long they have been on the market, and > whether any communities have seen what they would perceive to be an > overbuilding of cohousing units in their particular demand area. > > Thanks for sharing. > > TOM LOFFT > Liberty Village, MD > > _________________________________________________________________ > Reveal your inner athlete and share it with friends on Windows Live. > > http://revealyourinnerathlete.windowslive.com?locale=en-us&ocid=TXT_TAGLM_WLYIA_whichathlete_us > _________________________________________________________________ > Cohousing-L mailing list -- Unsubscribe, archives and other info at: > http://www.cohousing.org/cohousing-L/ > > > -- Craig Ragland Coho/US executive director http://www.cohousing.org craig [at] cohousing.org Please try email first, include your phone number (w/time zone) - or give me a call: 425-487-3550 (Pacific)... communicate!
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- Re: VACANCY RATE POLL - Is Cohousing Overbuilt? How many vacancies at your community? Marc Kolman, August 11 2008
- Re: VACANCY RATE POLL - Is Cohousing Overbuilt? How many vacancies at your community? Craig Ragland, August 11 2008
Re: VACANCY RATE POLL - Is Cohousing Overbuilt? How many vacancies at your community? Ellen Keyne Seebacher, August 11 2008
- Re: VACANCY RATE POLL - Is Cohousing Overbuilt? How many vacancies at your community? Elizabeth Magill, August 11 2008
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