After the kids leave, couples are foregoing their multi-bedroom homes in the suburbs and moving back to the cities for outdoor markets, restaurants, public transportation and more freedom
Karen and Jim Richardson were so certain their last home build would be their “forever” home that they had wheelchair-friendly doorways installed. But a few years later, when Jim’s office relocated to downtown Minneapolis, Karen leapt at the chance to explore the burgeoning condo scene in the heart of the city.
After looking at several different types of housing, the couple down-sized from their “forever” house to a new-construction high-rise within walking distance of both their offices and offered something else very much at the top of Karen’s list – a panorama view of the Mississippi River. A year later, when a second new building went up across the street, they swapped their 1,575 square foot living space for one slightly over two thousand.
Too Big for Comfort
In the early 2000s, lots of home owners built big. Dave and Katherine Meyer included. They built their five bedroom, 4,300 square foot house outside Dallas in 2004. “The kids were teenagers and needed their own rooms,” Dave explained, “and with the pool in the backyard, they could have friends over. We liked knowing where they were.”
But when those teenagers left one by one for college, everything changed. “It became clear that we were paying for a lot of things we weren’t using,” Dave, a CFO for a small healthcare company said. “We paid substantial property taxes for good schools we no longer needed, there was a lot upkeep on the pool and yard, not to mention air-conditioning costs for a house that size.”