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Thread: lot size and future housing value

  1. #1
    Member Mary's avatar
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    lot size and future housing value

    The community is in debate and while I have my own opinion that I suspect many of you agree with I still want to see if I can get some opinions

    There is a push in my community to change the lot size for R-1 from 7500 square feet to make it larger. The belief is that this will raise the price of the lots and therefore raise the value of the final built homes.

    If we can skip the social issues associated with this one (and I know there are a few) what I'm trying to look at is
    1) if increasing lot sizes in this manner will even result in the desired more expensive homes (they will develop we're in a fast growth area),
    2) if the increased home value will even be enough (spread out farther as it would be) to actually effect and increase tax revenue etc. or if the decrease in number of lots would have the reverse effect.
    3) Would the cost of maintaining the utilities over the wider area off set the increase in taxes.

    This city has an average home cost of something around $250,000 in an area that doesn't have excessive housing costs. I could put my home into an average home here twice and still get change back.

    Needless to say they are trying to protect the status quo. Let me know what you think. Thank you

  2. #2
    Cyburbian jordanb's avatar
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    I assume you'd need to do a statistical study of your area to answer some of those questions.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    Yes, short, sweet, and too the point...the bigger the lot, the bigger the house, the bigger the price tag.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian ludes98's avatar
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    I'm with jordanb on this one, location is crucial to these trends.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    Would you be making existing houses in the area less desirable by making them dimensionally non-conforming?

  6. #6
    Member Mary's avatar
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    I don't believe you'd have a negative impact on the existing housing although this City really does have two sides with two drastically different economic averages.
    Last edited by Mary; 06 Nov 2003 at 1:07 PM.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Budgie's avatar
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    Rural Areas

    IMO, the per acre price of a rural parcel with a house will decrease with the size of the parcel, because the larger the parcel the higher the maintenance costs of the land, which can become a burden for urbanites who move to the County. For example a 3 acre parcel may have a land cost of $30,000 while a 10 acre parcel with an identical house may have a land cost of $60,000.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Look at any assessment role and you will see that, at most, the value of the lot is usually no more than a quarter o fthe value of the Improvements (home). If you were to create larger lots, would you get larger homes, and if so, would those larger homes be more valuable than the homes on small er lots? Good design, materials, and location can often have a greater impact on the value of a property than a larger lot might have. If the goal is to raise home prices, you might consider other strategies. For instance, you could put in place regulations or covenants that dictate better design standards (i.e., garage placement, architectural treatments, siding and roofing materials, etc.). You might also consider public improvements that make the lots more valuable. There is a lot of research on the impact of parks, street trees (streetscaping), and other features on the value of property. In Madison, one subdivision charged a $10,000 premium on lots next to the Ice Age Trail. To compensate for the land used to provide greater public facilities, you might increase density by allowing a mix of single- and multi-family units. In one redevelopment project, I was able to get a developer to construct 48 units on five acres. The average selling price of the condos is $30,000 more than the average selling price of a single-family home.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Originally posted by Mike D.
    Yes, short, sweet, and too the point...the bigger the lot, the bigger the house, the bigger the price tag.
    There is a plateau point with this (except price tag), in my neck of the woods. The smallest lot we allow is 11,250 square feet. Typically, of water, the vacant lots sell for $75k to $105k fully improved depending on location (we are a suburban city covering 36 square miles). Once you hit 1.5 acres, the lot price levels off around $120k fully improved, and there is little market above.

    A caveat -- We allow fairly high FAR with minimal open space requirements IMHO . The typical home in smaller lot subdivisions is the same size as in the larger country estate areas. Of course, you cant touch a new house-lot package in this city for less than $290,000 base. There is no affordable housing here, as defined as affordable to a person making 80% of county median.


    I agree with jordanb for the second time this year - you need to do a local analysis of the market.

  10. #10
    Member Wulf9's avatar
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    Obviously, none of the respondents so far are from California. In many areas, the value of the land exceeds the value of the improvements. it's not the size, it's the location.

  11. #11
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Originally posted by Wulf9
    Obviously, none of the respondents so far are from California. In many areas, the value of the land exceeds the value of the improvements. it's not the size, it's the location.
    ba-bing....you hit it precisely wulf..(i keep telling the GF that size is not important)

  12. #12
    NIMBY asshatterer Plus Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Originally posted by Chet
    The smallest lot we allow is 11,250 square feet.
    jesus tap dancing christ.....look in websters for the defination of urban sprawl and there's the picture.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Speaking from the sprawl-capitol of Central FL... the smaller the lot (6000 to 7500 s.f. or so), the more on-street parking, the more plumbing/electrician/misc.home improvement trucks parked on the street each night, the more units going into rentals, the more loss of value on the property. There is only a very small area near downtown Orlando where small lots (generally with very old homes) sees an increase in value.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Originally posted by RichmondJake
    jesus tap dancing christ.....look in websters for the defination of urban sprawl and there's the picture.
    Maybe the lots are large to a Californian, but a 10,000 square foot lot here is considered average, and yout West Coast lots make no sense to us. If you are that close to your neighbor, with no yard at all, then why not just live in a townhouse?

    Here's a subdivision I put together with single-family lots ranging from 8500 to 10,000 square feet (corner lots). It has sold pretty well, but if the lots were smaller, I don't think it would have made it in this market. Still, when you average the density for all of the dwelling types, you get about six units per acre.

    (Also note the commercial between the road and railroad tracks. See those sidewalks? the quality materials? the parking to the side and/or rear? I like the way this is turning out.


  15. #15
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    I don't have an 'answer' for you, but your question brings to mind Apple Valley, CA. They have a large required lot size and, when I went driving through there, trying to find a particular address, it seemed to me that every house there was a mansion. I am sure that is not absolutely true, but their 'cheap' houses were also on the pricey side, when compared to neighboring towns. Apple Valley sits cheek to jowel with Victorville -- a rather ordinary 'middle class' type town. Victorville is sandwiched between Apple Valley and Hesperia. Hesperia struck me as kind of 'poor' and underdeveloped -- "the cheap seats". Victorville is the largest of the three towns and Apple Valley is clearly the wealthiest.

    These three towns are, um, maybe 90 minutes or maybe 2 hours from L.A.? I was 2 1/2 to 3 hours from L.A. and I was an hour and 15 minutes from Apple Valley/Victorville (well, in 'good' traffic). Apple Valley is something of a 'bedroom community' for The Stars. It is my understanding that is not true of Hesperia or Victorville, even though they are slightly closer to L.A. Roy Rodgers lived in Apple Valley and they have the Roy Rodgers/Dale Evans Museum. I cannot remember who else I heard had a home there, but I know I have seen shows about "homes of the rich and famous" where the house was said to be in Apple Valley and I have heard or read that it had a surprising number of famous hollywood folk living there.

    I don't know much about Apple Valley and why it became dotted with mansions and the 'country retreat' for the The Big Names wanting to get away from L.A. without going so far that they cannot drive in to work. The only thing I really know is they required a large minimum lot size -- much larger than in Victorville or Hesperia (maybe 5 acres? -- I can't remember for sure). However, this was ALWAYS true and not something they added later. I think that would be a whole other ballgame.

    Anyway, I thought I would toss that out there as an example of a town in California with a large lot size. You can look up some info about them and draw your own conclusions about how that might or might not apply to the specific situation you are speaking of.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Originally posted by RichmondJake
    jesus tap dancing christ.....look in websters for the defination of urban sprawl and there's the picture.
    As a second tier suburb, DUH! We dont want 'any of them' moving out here for christsakes! 10% of our residential properties have lake frontage and comprise 30% of the tax base. All but 1 of 7 aldermanic districts represent lake frontage. Why on gods green earth would they want non-lake properties to be affordable? It would errode the ppower base.

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Budgie's avatar
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    Originally posted by RichmondJake
    jesus tap dancing christ.....look in websters for the defination of urban sprawl and there's the picture.
    I'm working with a community in Georgia that has a minimum lot size of 20,000 sq. ft. and they allow septic systems within the city limits. They are on the outer edge of the Altanta Metro and not surprisingly their anticipated growth over the next year will demand more water than they can provide and despite the use of septic systems, their wastewater generation will exceed treatment capacity in 5 years. All of this and a lot of pipe per house.

    Can you say moratorium followed by ROGO (capacity allocation or permit quotas).

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    Originally posted by RichmondJake
    jesus tap dancing christ.....look in websters for the defination of urban sprawl and there's the picture.

    ~11,000 is nearly a 1/4 acre. Not urban sprawl by any means. 2 acre lots baby. Now thats sprawl! Not big enough to be called rural, yet just big enough that you don't need to talk to your neighbor.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian Budgie's avatar
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    Originally posted by Mike D.
    Not big enough to be called rural, yet just big enough that you don't need to talk to your neighbor.
    I was faciltating a citizen rural planning workshop one time and one of the gents said,

    "I want to be able to piss off my deck without the neighbors gawking."

    Here's a legitimate rural design objective.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Originally posted by Budgie
    I was faciltating a citizen rural planning workshop one time and one of the gents said,

    "I want to be able to piss off my deck without the neighbors gawking."

    Here's a legitimate rural design objective.
    I can do that, and have. My deck is a good place to do ... other things, as well. It's good to be rural.

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