Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Cottages as Condo Alternatives and Downsizing as a Trend

It’s a trend I’ve witnessed recently with my clients, that’s now been reported nationally in last week’s Weekend Journal by the Wall Street Journal. Smaller is better for some— and home ownership rather than condominium or townhome ownership is better for others too.

I’ve had clients lately who’ve started their search with a condo or townhome in mind who end up looking at homes instead. In today’s “buyer’s market” in our region, single family residences have become an affordable alternative with a greater rate of return on investment. I’m seeing homes in neighborhoods like Ballard, Maple Leaf and Loyal Heights in the under $400-300,000 range that make excellent condo alternatives.

The July 18 Weekend Journal article by Sara Lin was entitled: “The Newest Cottage Industry: Buyers Snap Up Small Homes; 1,000 Square Feet for $599,950”. It highlighted some buyers from our region who’ve gone smaller. Hear Sara’s recap of the story online: http://video.marketwatch.com/m/20435916/choosing_cottages_over_mcmansions.htm

I’ve been an admirer of small space living for years, a favorite book being Creating the Not So Big House by Sarah Susanka. Some excellent examples of small cottage neighborhoods that have recently been developed in our area include Ross Chapin-designed Greenwood Avenue Cottages in Shoreline and The Cottage Company’s Third Street Cotatges near Langley on Whidbey Island: http://www.cottagecompany.com/cctsc.html

Just Up the Street from Where I Grew Up (and Future Site of the Ultimate Man Cave?)


Check out my new listing in Windermere (click above), just down the road from where us neighborhood kids used to play kickball, sled and race go karts. It’s a great family house, built in the last ten years, with 3+ bedrooms and Lake Washington and Cascade views. It’s done.

Plus, as one Open House visitor mentioned to his wife, “Hey honey— did you check out the ‘man cave’?”

(For more about the “man cave” phenomenon Word Spy digs into the trend here: http://www.wordspy.com/words/mancave.asp ).

We’re talking plenty of room for personal space and hobbying. See, this terrific home has a garage deep enough to park three cars, leaving an ideal spot in the rear for a woodworking shop as this impressed guy pointed out, or for a customized "man cave" with all the amenities. Like, say a custom LP stereo from Tune (http://www.tunehifi.com/ an audio store started by Seattle Prep alum Connon Price) or something amazing like that.

“Man cave”… I like the sound of that. Maybe I’ll change the flyers.