The New Old Neighborhood

Real Estate Agent with Charter One Realty

The average American household is changing.  Along with these changes come changes in how and where we live. Talk to your parents or look at old pictures from grade school and the neighborhood where you grew up. As for myself, I grew up in an ethnic neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio.  I can remember the old neighborhood vividly. We were all of western or eastern European descent. Our grandparents came from Europe, and they settled amongst family and friends. I can visualize in my mind the old grocery store, bakery, the hardware store on the corner, and front porches with swings as a gathering place. Everyone knew each other by name, and more often than not, childhood sweethearts married each other. Looking back to the 50’s and 60’s in the old neighborhood, we were all from the same nationality, attended the same church denomination which usually had a school, and we shared the same traditions, customs, and foods. Living in the old neighborhood was uncomplicated and it rarely changed. From the 1970’s and moving toward the end of the 20th century, old neighborhoods were slowly replaced. Families moved to the burbs with planned communities, grand entrances and elaborate amenities. The burbs became an ideal place to live and fulfill the American dream. Moving twenty-five years forward there became crowding in the burbs, longer commutes to work, strip mall after strip mall lining the streetscapes, increased multi car dependency, high fuel costs, and time becoming a premium. So what happened–the trend is turning back toward the city!  Welcome to the 21st century. The closer in neighborhood is becoming a trendy place to live for singles, newlyweds, young families and retirees. There’s a coffee shop, specialty food market, art gallery, and bookstore on the corner. Neighborhood restaurants, walking and bike paths, and parks encompass the neighborhood. Home values are sky-rocketing the closer you get to the town center. Instead of neighborhoods defined by ethnic and cultural backgrounds, they are a potpourri of different nationalities and lifestyles. We are all experiencing and adjusting to the changes in our demographics. Real estate is also being affected by these changes. Complimenting the resurgence in the city, “New Urbanism” is occurring in the suburban landscape with small parks, walking trails, and village like amenities being incorporated within planned communities. I believe people want to return to a more relaxed environment enjoying more quality time with family, friends, and getting to know their neighbors. I for one am happy to see this transition. Many of my clients express these intangibles among their priorities when looking for a home. Having grown up in this type of environment, I understand and fully appreciate what is important to them. A home is more than dirt, concrete, lumber, bricks, walls, roof, etc. It’s where we find comfort and solace with those we love, and being among good neighbors and friends. Anyone want a good cup of coffee and friendly conversation? What was old is new again!

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