There are lots of homes like this in Canton, Ohio. They run underOriginally posted by GeogPlanner
I think that people see housing and development in black and white...overcrowding or sprawl. It's row houses or estates. No one builds the small city single family homes, circa 1920. I like my space and neighbors, but I don't want to be downtown.
$100k for 3-bedroom houses, typically exist on a 1/4 acre lot, and I'm hard pressed to think of any that aren't in walking distance of at least a convenience store. The reason they're worth under $100k is:
- The job market in towns like this that depended on manufacturing is poor. If these homes were in a place like California, they'd long ago
have been razed to build big fancy expensive homes.
- Many of the neighbourhoods are racially integrated. Unfortunately, for lots of folks, that means the neighbourhoods are less valuable.
- The convenience store you're close to happens to be on a five-lane undivided arterial (the middle turn lane was where the trams used to run from Canton to Cleveland). Most of the businesses are not chains, but they still have deep setbacks, parking lots with faded stripes and cracked asphalt, giant pole signs, and these businesses principally seem to be providing:
- Auto repair services
- Used automobiles
- Adult videos
- Liquour (available via their convenient drive-through)
- Firearms and ammunition
- Short term loans
- Cheque cashing service
- Pawn-broker service
There are, of course, fast-food joints scattered amongst these businesses. There are also real gems, like the clothing thrift stores I often shop at, the natural foods market (which my friends all say is cool, despite that "weird" people work there ), and the non-chain health club whose indoor swimming pool I enjoy.
The neighbourhoods themselves would be a neotraditionalist's delight. Many of the alleys have not yet been vacated to the neighbouring property owners if the owners don't want to pay the property taxes; a vacation usually occurs once drug dealers decide the alley is a good place to hang out and drive through with their oversize-muffler-bearing vehicles. Garages are always behind the house, and probably only half of the houses even have driveways. (Some neighbours choose to share a driveway when they vacate an alley.) Most people choose to park on the street, which makes walking under the tree-canopied sidewalks pleasant--but watch out for the old, old trees whose roots have overcome the cement on top of them.
However, I don't see many neotraditionalists living there. I do see many people who commute long distances over uncongested I-77 to their jobs in Cleveland or Akron whose current goal in life is to pay off enough of this house that they can move to a "nicer" home on a 3/4 acre lot in Jackson Twp. Canton's housing stock does an excellent job of providing starter homes for people of modest incomes. However, how many of you are planning on moving there?
The harsh reality is that none of us really want to live in neighbourhoods with average home values under $100k. The residents enjoy working on their cars in the street or on their front lawns; they enjoy patronising the local drive-through liquour establishments; they often party with their loud music late into the night, the sounds of it permeating the thin walls of their late-19th-century-era homes. Despite per-student expenditures greater than the neighbouring wealthy townships, performance of the city schools is lags behind them, and promises to grow worse as property tax revenue from local manufacturers, busily moving their businesses to China as their only hope to survive, watch their revenue shrink. One would hope that residents of an integrated neighbourhood would be enlightened regarding matters of race, yet I frequently overhear conversations of nervous residents talking about moving to a whiter neighbourhood as they see another non-white family move in, fearing their property values will sink--or so they claim is the reason. Youths roam the streets aimlessly, although I can't much blame them; most of the job opportunities available to them involve food or retail; their parents are lucky if they have better jobs than that.
Builders want to build expensive homes. Chances are that most of us wouldn't like a typical modern builder's idea of a "quaint" single family home, anyway. Your quaint homes do exist in plentiful supply--unfortunately, they happen to be in places like Littleton, WV or Jewett, OH which have no shred of economic base left to support them.Growing up in a wood framed 2 family in an old trolley district, I've come to appreciate the ability to walk in a neighborhood to go to the store or church. But secretly I always wanted more! When I was engaged two years ago and shopping for a house, I did look for more space, but not a sprawling estate. I just wanted a single family home with a small detached garage in the rear of the house on a tree lined street with sidewalks. The problem is that just does not exist in great supply. It was easy to find a suburban house or a run down money pit...neither ideal, but the suburban one more ideal from the other in the long term. The old peripheral city house was non-existant on the market. And no one builds new like that anymore b/c its not a sure sell. We just need to learn to build quaint single family homes again.