Apartments Are The Bane Of Suburbia!

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Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com SAL.2002007747

suburbiaApartments Are The Bane Of Suburbia!

At least that seems to be the impression of some in our area judging by discussions in Facebook groups and at trustee meetings (more on that later).

As the economy has bounced back there's been a recent burst of apartment building and proposed apartment complexes in Mason, Deerfield Township, Loveland, Kings Mills, etc.

The apartment complexes in question are being billed as "luxury" or "resort" style, typically 1-2 bedroom, rents around $1000/month (or more).  They're going up mostly along busy roads (SR741, Kings Island Drive, Montgomery Road) in areas that would typically be unsuitable for a new subdivision, but still in areas with high demand.  People want to send their kids to school in Mason, Kings, etc. but not everyone can afford the entry price to buying a home in the area and rental homes are scarce.  And rental homes are often hard to find, or if you do highly priced.  Add the fact that some potential homeowners are still shackled with restrictions from recent bankruptcies or short sales that keep them from qualifying for a loan anytime soon, and you have demand for apartments.

Concerns are obvious:

  • Higher density per acre than a "regular" subdivision, and this is often where the developer's plans and the zoning rules run into conflicts.  Variances may be requested and hearings held (don't like what is being proposed?  Exercise your rights as a citizen and attend the board meetings and voice your concerns).
  • Loss of greenspace, especially a concern to those who bought homes backing up to what USED to be trees and now will be parking lots and apartment buildings.
  • Addition of children to schools (a problem if schools don't plan in advance for the potential growth)
  • Increased traffic in the area.
  • Renters will vote no against needed school tax levies (maybe they will, maybe they won't).

My opinion, some concerns are reasonable, others not so much (e.g. it won't be safe for my kids to walk past the apartment complex to go to the movies).  Strangely, we never hear the same complaints when a new "regular" subdivision is being proposed and built out.

In our area, growth is to be expected.  Warren County has traditionally been one of the fastest growing counties in Ohio, and we don't see a reason for that to change.  There's too much here to like and a high quality of life, so demand for newer housing isn't going to stop.

And if you don't own the land behind you, you don't control it.  Golf courses, farmland and other undeveloped land is ALWAYS subject to change.

Free enterprise is governed, and as long as the developers follow the legal process, they have the right to develop their properties for what's called "highest and best use".  In some cases, like it or not as an area resident, that means 300 apartments are going in where there used to be a hotel or empty land.

All in all, these apartments are probably a good thing for the community:  affordable housing in high demand areas.  An opportunity for empty nesters, single parents, and yes, for Johnny and Susie to move out of mom and dad's basement and get out on their own.  And for many of these apartment renters, it's the first step towards becoming an eventual homeowner.  So say hello to your future neighbors, they just might be moving into one of those apartments!

That's our two cents on the issue.

Serving Warren County home buyers and sellers,

Liz and Bill aka BLiz

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Serving Warren County Ohio & Adjacent Areas

 

The Liz Spear Team of RE/MAX Elite
Elizabeth Spear, ABR, CRS, Ohio License SAL.2002007747

William (Bill) Spear, CRS, Ohio License SAL.2004011109  Kentucky 77938
Ask for us by name if you visit the office!

EHO Two locations: Lebanon & Mason, OH
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Liz Direct: 513-265-3004     
Fax: 866-302-8418

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Ambassador
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Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Sheila, I've been monitoring (and sometimes participating) in some local FB groups and the comments have been eyeopening.  I've heard the concern about renters saying No to school levies has come up over and over, but I don't know the answer to it.  What proportion of renters vote?  Do they vote yes or no?  Do they think increase property taxes don't impact them? (maybe not in the short term, but increased taxes ultimately WILL be passed from the property owner to tenants). 

Dec 11, 2014 09:49 PM #3
Ambassador
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Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Anita, I recently warned one of my buyers that the field behind their potential patio home was about to become an apartment complex.  She (correctly) backed away from continuing with that purchase.  The home was shortly thereafter under contract and the sale has closed.  I'm wondering if the buyers (and their agent) had the same knowledge about what was coming?

Dec 11, 2014 09:51 PM #4
Rainmaker
2,688,659
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Apartments are much more common in our area where real estate is much more expensive and land limited.  In most of the areas where they have developed more over last 10-20 yrs, these have led to more shopping and nicer restaurants.  If they are nice condos, etc, it's very good for the economy.  And, many of the buyers (and even renters work and commute to the City and in a few years become trade up buyers.

Dec 11, 2014 09:52 PM #5
Rainmaker
2,688,659
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Also, by the way, in my area, there is a range of condo/co-op prices.  Some are as low as 200,000-300,000, then some in the middel $400 - 700,000 and then some luxury ones that are over 1 million.

Dec 11, 2014 09:54 PM #6
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RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
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Debbie, And I think that makes sense.  For the more urban areas apartments/condo/co-ops are a logical and efficient use of a VERY limited landscape.  The apartment complexes going up here are no slouches and I think will be a good addition for those who (for whatever reason) are not ready to be homeowners. 

Dec 11, 2014 09:57 PM #7
Rainmaker
2,346,102
Roger D. Mucci
Shaken...with a Twist 216.633.2092 - Euclid, OH
Lets shake things up at your home today!

Having been a renter most of my life, I see both sides of the story, but would never complain about taxes or vote down a school levy because of not having children.  I come from a family of seven.....Mickey and T taught us how important things like this truly are.....

Dec 11, 2014 10:03 PM #8
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Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Roger, No kids here either, but have never hesitated to support needed school levies.  It's part of the social contract IMO to make sure our kids have solid opportunities to develop.

Dec 11, 2014 10:05 PM #9
Rainmaker
679,980
Nicole Doty - Gilbert Real Estate Expert
Zion Realty - Gilbert, AZ
Broker/Owner of Zion Realty ZionRealtyAZ.com

We have a major apartment complex builder Mark Taylor who has built three huge complexes in my area in the past two years. I guess studies somewhere showed them the area was in need but I didn't see it that way.

Dec 11, 2014 10:44 PM #10
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Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Nicole, You can bet they've got some comprehensive studies behind it.  Here, we're seeing vacant spots too small for a traditional subdivision, or in one case a defunct older hotel is being torn down and replaced with apartments (pending approval).  It has a highway on the back of the property and an amusement park (our area's largest by far) immediately across the front street.  I'm guessing the complex will be VERY popular with the younger roller coaster fanboys!

Dec 12, 2014 12:18 AM #11
Rainmaker
2,688,659
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Many choose apartments here because it's easier: 1) transportation - can walk to train/don't need to worry about driving to find parking space, 2) don't want to deal w/ plowing, raking leaves and mowing lawns, 3) amenities - pool,

Older couples like them as it's easier maintenance, safety and NO STEPS.

Dec 12, 2014 01:08 AM #12
Rainmaker
925,849
Ron Marshall
Marshall Enterprises - Saint Michael, MN
Birdhouse Builder Extraordinaire

As the population ages, it will be more apartments, townhomes and condos that will be in demand.....people my age and older will be looking for comfort and less outside maintenance.  So, the thinking should be how to make it integrate best with homes already in the area.....and you two are so thoughtful, that I know your input will be welcomed no matter where!

Dec 12, 2014 04:27 AM #13
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Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Debbie, Here most of our apartment buildings that are new or coming are no more than 3 stories, so that minimizes stairs.  I'd assume they'd have elevators to be ADA compliant.  No trains or easy public transportation, so the choice here is about reducing maintenance demands and ease of lifestyle.

Ron, Those same reasons line up well with our local patio home niche and why we pursued a specialization in low maintenance homes.  Retirees (or almost retirees) often want less hassle taking care of home exteriors and yards and more time to enjoy what they want to be doing. 

Dec 12, 2014 04:46 AM #14
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Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

With three local colleges our apartments just stay packed with kids.  I'd love them to build some senior complex in my area (and I don't mean college seniors either)... I am thinking about myself down the road when I will be tired of maintenance.

Dec 12, 2014 06:14 AM #15
Rainmaker
1,290,717
Jon Kolsky
Kolsky Realty & Management - Long Beach, CA
Licensed California Real Estate Broker

Liz and Bill Spear ~ let's start with "there's always a need for affordable housing" because democratically speaking "there's always that need... The next thing to look at is the word "suburbia" I think the true definition is sub par living? Whatever the case, for many reasons apartment buildings mixed-in with homes will usually bring down home values. Hence, your title- I think?

Long Beach did a great job separating apartment buildings and homes, and that seems to bode well for all... Anyway, I have a feeling "the bane of your existence is overkill" because I know you are loving life regardless  PS: I just realized it's the bane of "suburbia" not "your existence" so scratch that last sentence

Dec 12, 2014 06:43 AM #16
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Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

 Tammy, That's the huge appeal for patio homes here, all the amenities of your regular home, but someone else gets the hassle of mowing the lawn and doing the rest of the landscaping.

Jon, You'd think you lived in an urban area or something!! :)    And depending on how it's done and style, yes, sometimes apartments adjacent CAN hurt property values.  But it's been ALMOST amusing reading on Facebook some of the backlash against some of these proposed apartment complexes.

Dec 12, 2014 09:33 AM #17
Rainmaker
3,427,441
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hi Liz and Bill - interesting topic and comment thread.  

When it comes to apartments and single family homes co-existing in a community, I live and work in areas where it is pretty common to see  New construction of apartments(depending on location) is in the $2000 and up range for single/one bedroom plans.   Our area's affordability factor to purchase is one of the lowest in the country and along with lots of colleges/universities and people relocating from lower housing cost areas makes living in an apartment a neccesity for some and a lifestyle choice for others.  

Most of the new apartment construction is replacing older buildings and the backlash is typically one of density.   But many of our cities are changing and with longer commute times, living closer to the action whether it be work or play makes certain cities more appealing.  

I also belong to a couple of facebook groups where there are arguments about the gentrification taking place in older parts of Los Angeles.  Quite vicious on some level with lots of punches pulled(figuratively) at the big bad people coming in and improving the area --- it's a real huh???  kinda moment.  

 

 

Dec 13, 2014 02:02 AM #18
Rainmaker
796,957
Liz Wallace
Century 21 Sherlock Homes - Rockville Centre, NY
Broker C21 Sherlock Homes, Rockville Centre, LI, N

This happens a lot in Nassau County.  You would think they were proposing to build a prison.  There is a need for rental units and for a lot of reasons you stated.

Dec 13, 2014 04:32 AM #19
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Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Michael, Same here, many of the FB "conversations" give the impression that adding apartments will be the downfall of the schools and entire neighborhood.  I think there impact is being grossly overestimated and find it ironic that the same bias isn't being applied to new subdivisions that would have equivalent or greater impact.

Liz, We've got the prison, but that's over on the west side of the county! :)

Dec 13, 2014 07:23 AM #20
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Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

BLiz- I guess I've always been around apartment complexes, having grown up in Houston.   Who says that everyone has to own a single family home?  I've spoken with many sellers in the 55+ community who are considering rentals so that they don't have to deal with maintenance, etc. 

Dec 13, 2014 08:56 AM #21
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Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Kathy, I had an exchange with someone recently that had done exactly that.  Empty nesters, didn't want to own a home any longer and have the maintenance, so rented an apartment.  They can button up and travel whenever they want, something they couldn't do so readily with a normal home.

Dec 13, 2014 09:56 PM #22
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