Monday, June 25, 2007

Real Estate and LIfestyles: Money Magazine's 2006 Top Ten Places to Live

We have been talking a lot on Cleveland blogs (OK everyone everywhere is talking!) about what we need in Cuyahoga County and Cleveland in order to feel the economic and Sense of Place vibrancy we all crave. I thought it might be helpful to look at this 'best' list. CNN/Money did a poll and reports the findings. Here is their Top Ten Places To Live List:

1. Fort Collins, Colorado
2. Naperville, Illinois
3. Sugarland, Texas
4. Columbia/Ellicott City, MD
5. Carey, NC
6. Overland Park, KS
7. Scottsdale, AZ
8. Boise, ID
9. Fairfield, CT
10. Eden Prairie, MN

There were commonalities and differences, but a few things stood out: all ten economies are vibrant, job growth is up, the population is diverse (including the fact that not everyone is rich or poor) and there is an affordable housing stock as well as a higher priced mix. Most of these places also had a population that averaged around 125,000 residents.

**They all seemed to be just far enough away from metropolitan areas, but yet close enough to get there quickly. For example, Fort Collins is one hour away from Denver or one hour away from Cheyenne Wyoming. And Naperville is only 28 miles West of Chicago (hats off to Naperville, I know two wonderful agents there, Eileen Landau and Angus Woodbury).

**They had 'perks' - a strong educational community, home sale prices going up not down, and a biggie, job growth. Yes, I know I mentioned it twice.

**They all seem to offer a lot of green space, recreational areas, rivers, lakes, mountains, depending on their location. So as the House Hunt Inc. site points out, they have the best of both worlds. Fort Collins boasts an average of 300 days a year of sunshine.

One thing I found odd and I have to put it here. Naperville Illinois was voted most 'kid friendly' city in 2006 by Zero Population Growth. Isn't that sort of an oxymoron??? Maybe my Naperville friends Eileen or Angus can explain it to me :-)

So I guess we don't need much to get on this list! We certainly have the green space; our Emerald Necklace alone is unbeatable. We have the affordable housing stock. We have a diverse population; we were voted one of the most literate cities so we can compete with these ten cities on good library systems. We have the higher education community a lot of people would love to have in their cities. The biggest weak link I see for NE Ohio (besides the sunshine.... does Fort Collins really get 300 days a year? That would be wonderful I have to admit) is jobs.

Peace Out - 3C

National and Cleveland May Home Sale Statistics + New Tax Abatement in Shaker

May is one of those 'go to' months when predictors well, start predicting based on first quarter results and May is a big real estate sales month. This Market Watch report talks about the high inventory of homes on the market Nationwide, but also talks about May sales being stronger than expected.

Just a Cleveland stat: during the month of May, 157 homes and condos sold in all west side Cleveland areas (these stats reflect sales listed with brokerages). Here is a comparison for sales in May in all of these areas for other years:

May 2006 = 164
May 2005 = 151
May 2004 = 185
May 2003 = 155

Peace Out - 3C

As an aside, the City of Shaker Heights applied with the State of Ohio to offer tax abatement. You can look on the City website here and get the details.