Re: 50+ and Affordable
From: Stuart Joseph (
Date: Tue, 3 Jul 2007 07:35:41 -0700 (PDT)

Marganne wrote:
At 12:10 PM -0700 7/1/07, freedomctr wrote:
I live in the Midwest and spend $400/month for a very nice 2-BR townhouse. I would like a larger area for gardening since I'm involved in Master Gardeners.

That's what I miss most since I moved into a studio apartment in a condo/homeowners association. Wish I'd thought about the lack of gardening space more before I moved. The idea of eventually living in cohousing where there is plenty of space for gardening and a group of people also interested in that activity keeps me going.
We have a 5 acre agricultural field for our community garden, fruit trees, herb garden, and? A number of our members are interested in gardening.
Until I started listening to some of the rest of you, I was pretty much firming up on the conclusion that my dream isn't possible and that I would have to buy a house that is way bigger than I need and, especially, bigger than I want to clean. Your various ideas are energiing.

It's a dream reachable by some people in some areas of the country. But many people still are uncomfortable with lifestyle changes required to embrace the 'Simple Living' or small house living concept. It's taken me a long time to wrap my brain around some of the things I've read and be convinced that my 'dream' doesn't need to be shelved yet.

I've looked at real estate prices all over the U.S. By far, the midwest prices are lower.
It's not called the "rust belt" for nothing! A lot of the low prices are due to the fact that plants have closed and people have lost their jobs. remember "Roger and Me" by Michael Moore?
It might be difficult for someone used to having a 2-bedroom townhouse for $400 a month to embrace paying more for land located in the east or west. But, if you come from places like California (that's me), almost anything is less expensive! :-)
That also causes problems for folks in areas like mine. People from NYC and Boston come up here, see the cost of real estate, and think they are getting a bargain compared to what their costs are back home, which leads the sellers to raise their prices and concentrate on selling to that market. When they sell, the prices of other homes go up because they are comparing the other properties to the ones bought by the city folk.
Currently I live in a 460-to 488- square foot (my brain has a hard time holding on to exact numbers) studio apartment in the middle of a lush, mature landscape near downtown Sacramento. I pay $675 a month plus utilities and it's considered a steal for this area.

I hesitate to make the jump to almost anywhere else outside of California where prices are more reasonable. Like you, I don't know if I could realistically handle a Vermont winter or a sweltering humid East Coast or Midwest summer.
I would recommend visiting those areas during the times you need to find out if you can handle it or not. I would say that these days, it is easier to control your environment to make it comfortable, house design and efficiency for example.

Stuart Joseph, 802-463-1954
Project Director
Caer Coburn, a traditional village based upon cohousing  and intentional 
communities in
Rockingham, Vermont, USA
Mail to:
36 Front St.
Bellows Falls, VT 05101 USA

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