Urban Living: It’s Not Just the Gas

Our last post was prompted by a recent Coldwell Bankers survey of real estate professionals: 75% of which have seen gas prices effect their customers’ decisions when choosing a new place to live, and 93% of which state that, if gas prices continue to rise, people will choose to move closer to their jobs.

56% of these agents said they’ve seen an increase in interest in urban living compared to market conditions five years ago. Gas prices are the most commonly cited reason for this, but also, “according to those who have seen an increased interest in urban living, other reasons behind this trend are:

* Having everything at your fingertips (91 percent strongly agreed or agreed)
* Being able to walk to places (76 percent strongly agreed or agreed)
* Being near public transportation (52 percent strongly agreed or agreed).”

    An informal poll of a few Houston residents proved these reasons completely accurate. It’s nice when a social trend coincides with saving money, and the more that Houston turns into a city full of urbanized neighborhood pockets, the more socially and environmentally aware its residents will be. This, combined with gas prices, leads to people wanting to make decisions that lead to a higher quality of life as well as a greener lifestyle: walking or biking or taking public transport to work and social outings.

    “Do you feel like you have everything at your fingertips?” I asked Joe, who works at an advertising firm on Kirby and lives in a large apartment complex near West University.

    “Definitely,” he said. “My grocery store, my favorite bar, my office, and my wife’s favorite shops are all within about three miles of my house. During the summer, I still drive to all these places during the day just because it’s so hot, but I definitely don’t use nearly as much gas as some of my friends do who have real commutes. And at night, we walk.”

    That’s the great thing about Houston, the defining element of its casual nightlife; it may be 100 degrees during the day in the summer, but at night, you’re going to want to go sit out on a porch or a bar patio somewhere and enjoy the night with friends.

    I asked Lauren, who works at Memorial Hermann, if she moved into her high-rise because of its proximity to the Medical Center and the Metro Rail system. “Of course,” she said. “Have you ever tried to park in the Medical Center? It’s just not worth it. It’s really nice to just cut that expense and hassle out of my life most days of the week.”

    So while gas prices may be the most commonly cited motivation behind urban living in this survey of real estate professionals, the other factors are just as important, and can affect your lifestyle in an even more positive way. You may find that life feels different when you don’t have to spend 2 hours staring at brake lights every day; you’ll have more time to spend with your friends and family, doing the things that you love.

    Check out CondoDomain listings like the Capitol Lofts and more if a Houston urban experience sounds right for you!

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