A couple weeks back, the Capital Times published an article called "Bust Times for the 'Burbs" about how gas prices were causing people to buy closer to metropolitan areas to avoid commute times.My first inclination was to completely agree that this may be true, especially when I look at the great little communities of Blue Mounds and Barneveld, communities that have great value in home prices but are seeing a very slow market.I also was tending to agree because I am one of those workers that has the fortunate opportunity to work from home to avoid the cost of gas and that's exactly what I chose to do last fall.
However, then I realized one problem with that theory--at least with Mt. Horeb. First, I know for a fact that my commute and the commute of anyone who has to drive the beltline is exactly the same. It takes me about 22 minutes to get from my door to my west side office door.I know it takes my co-workers that same amount of time due to high traffic volumes in Madison.Now, I'm not an expert in how gas is used idling vs. driving, but I would be surprised if I learned that it was that much of a difference.
Then, lets consider the price difference to buy in Madison vs. Mt. Horeb. You can find more, cheaper homes in Madison, but clearly a metropolitan area will have more inventory. It's what you get for your money that is different: older vs. newer, busy neighborhood vs. quiet, etc. Not only that but when you consider how your taxes can jump living in Madison vs. a suburb, there may not be much of a monetary savings at all.
I know my "green" friends will scold me lovingly to tell me its not always about the money, but about conserving our resources. I get that.The article's focus, however, WAS on the money. Since this is a rebuttal to that article, I felt I must address their issues. Not only that but people move outside metropolitan areas for a way of life, and that desire for that smaller town life isn't a fad. It's been around a long time...I think it will stay around for awhile too.