Re: 1 Bedroom unit at Cornerstone
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Wed, 29 Jan 2020 07:10:33 -0800 (PST)
> On Jan 29, 2020, at 9:19 AM, Diana Carroll <dianaecarroll [at]> 
> wrote:
> To be fair, this is not a cohousing issue.  Cornerstone is located in a
> very popular neighborhood in the very expensive Boston, MA metro area. I
> did a quickie search for one-bedroom condos nearby and $550k is fairly
> typical (on the high end of average). This IS's a HUGE
> issue in the Boston metro area, that everyone is aware of. But it doesn't
> reflect cohousing per se being expensive. :(

To its credit, cohousing has achieved market rates — there was a time when 
banks, developers, and neighbors thought it was a crazy idea and a financial 
sinkhole. So to be at market rates is good in many ways. It has put cohousing 
in the mainstream of exciting living options — even in the NYTimes

But housing is a general problem that is also cohousing’s problem. One part of 
the cohousing effort was to build less expensive housing. Shared resources 
reducing exclusive single household acquisitions. A socio-economic example of 
how to solve our ills. And it has done that in many ways. The emphasis on 
paying more attention to infrastructural strength and longevity, green 
materials and processes, integrating children in to multi unit projects, adding 
shared facilities like gyms and office space. Many of these things are now 
common in condominiums. 

The remaining leap is to make it possible for more than a quarter of the 
population to even consider it. The ultra wealthy build their own family 
compounds and socialize amongst themselves. The newly rich prefer to show their 
wealth with McMansions and huge lawns. But more than half of the population 
can’t even consider cohousing because they don’t have the income required — not 
to mention the 20% downpayment required. The downpayment on $300,000 is 
$60,000. Who has that sitting around? 

Even in cohousing, our eyes have become bigger than our bellies.

Then there is the problem of banks refusing to finance small units because they 
have no resale value, and cities and towns zoning against small houses and 
multi-household buildings.

It’s the next frontier. Cohousing has accomplished everything else. It’s still 
a lot of work but the obstacles are typical of real estate developments that 
are not duplicates of the house next door.

Sharon Villines, Washington DC
Sustainable Cohousing

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