What’s Old Is New Again: Why Townhouses Are the Latest ‘It’ Homes

Recent waves of outside-the-box ideas in housing have brought us teeny-weeny homes, converted shipping containers, prefab modern palaces, and co-housing apartments with luxe perks for millennials.

But the latest “it” homes with builders and buyers have actually been around since the 19th century.

Townhouses, those classic rows of attached single-family homes that are a fixture in American cities and suburbs alike, got a second wind in the 1960s. That’s due to folks scooping up these existing, and often inexpensive, older abodes as they moved back into the big cities. And now the lovechild of a condominium and standalone house is back again and hotter than ever with both buyers and builders.

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In fact, townhomes are now the fastest-growing segment of the single-family housing construction market, according to the National Association of Home Builders, a Washington, DC–based trade group.

Townhouse construction was up 17.8% from 2014 to 2015, according to the most recent data available from the NAHB. Meanwhile, construction on standalone homes rose only 10%, while co-op, condo, and apartment construction jumped 12.1% over the same period.

They made up about 12.4% of all new construction in the single-family home market last year, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

The secret of their popularity lies with first-time buyers, who are typically younger and cash-strapped. Townhouses and row homes sold for a median $198,000 in September—about 12% less than detached single-family homes, according to the most recent data available from realtor.com®.

About a quarter of current and wannabe homeowners plan to buy a townhouse this year, according to a realtor.com® survey released in October. It was the most popular form of housing after single-family homes. That percentage was even higher for millennials, about a third of whom plan to close on one in 2017.

“Townhouses are indeed the affordable solution to expensive land in more and more urban areas,” says realtor.com’s chief economist, Jonathan Smoke. “For many people, it can be the most affordable way to buy a home and to get into a more desirable neighborhood.”

Many baby boomers also see the charms of a home that doesn’t require strenuous outdoor maintenance. (Residents of many townhome developments can pay their homeowners association to take care of those chores.)

Whether they’re in the city or the suburbs, townhomes are often located in trendier, more walkable areas with good schools and shopping nearby, Smoke says. They also often tend to be close to employment and transit centers.

Using a townhome as a ‘bridge’ to better things

With a 16-month-old daughter and a baby on the way, Julie and Zach Pastko figured they would need more space than what they had in their two-bedroom, two-bath Chicago condo.

So, like many a young family, they looked to the suburbs, settling on Palatine, IL, known for its excellent schools. But instead of plunking down all their cash on a traditional single-family home with a yard, they made a more modest purchase: a four-bedroom, 3.5-bath townhouse.

“We never had a dining room table before,” says Julie of their additional living space. “And we have two more bedrooms to furnish. We were so cramped [in the condo] that my daughter’s toys were all over the living room.”

Buyers like the Pastkos see townhomes as “a bridge” between a cramped apartment and a standalone house with a white picket fence and a yard, says the NAHB’s chief economist, Robert Dietz.

The Pastkos have plenty of room to breathe in their 2,200-square-foot townhouse, but it’s still not their ideal situation.

“We want to buy a [standalone] house eventually, in five to seven years,” says Julie, explaining that that purchase would be too much to handle financially right now. Julie, 33, works in sales for a health insurance company, and Zach, 35, is a consumer marketing consultant. The couple spent a little more than $400,000 on their townhouse, which isn’t that much for the Chicago suburbs.

Chicago-based Lexington Homes, which is building the Pastkos’ 24-unit townhouse community, has seen a big change in its clientele in just the past six months. Nearly all of Lexington Homes’ buyers are millennials, and most of them are either recently married or about to wed, says Lexington’s principal, Jeff Benach.

“We’ve seen a big shift since the recession,” he says. “Before, it was mostly empty nesters or divorcees with kids.”

Townhouses are a win-win for builders

For builders, townhouses are a win-win, says Dietz. They take up less space than standalone homes, enabling builders to construct more of them on smaller lots. This is a big deal in metro areas and older suburbs, where land is scarce and expensive. By keeping the land costs down, the builders are able to offer townhomes at a lower price than single-family homes.

“You tend to have really nice townhouse developments built in areas that are running out of land,” says realtor.com’s Smoke. “They should be gaining in popularity as [more] people realize they’re more affordable alternatives to renting.”

By Lew Sichelman on Apr 5, 2017
Site: https://www.realtor.com/news/trends/townhouses-hot-trend/

This winter weather can be brutal. Stay warm, enter through your personal two-car garage and curl up to the fireplace at The Brittany’s!

Next week’s Arctic blast will be so cold, forecasters expect it to break 170 records across US.

This week’s cold snap is only an appetizer compared with the main Arctic blast that’s coming next week, meteorologists said. That freeze could be one for the record books. “The National Weather Service is forecasting 170 potential daily record cold high temperatures Monday to Wednesday,” tweeted Weather Channel meteorologist Jonathan Erdman. “A little taste of January in November.” The temperature nosedive will be a three-day process as a cold front charges across the central and eastern U.S. from Sunday into Tuesday. The front will plunge quickly through the northern Plains and upper Midwest Sunday, into the southern Plains and Ohio Valley Monday, then through most of the East Coast and Deep South by Tuesday, the Weather Channel said.

High temperatures on Monday may be stuck in the teens and 20s in the Midwest and around the Great Lakes. It could be the coldest Veterans Day on record in cities such as Chicago and Minneapolis, according to the Weather Channel. By Tuesday, record cold is possible in the Northeast, Ohio Valley and portions of the South. Highs may get only into the 30s as far south as Alabama. The Florida Panhandle may shiver with lows in the 30s Wednesday and Thursday morning. Low temperatures may fall below freezing all the way to the Gulf Coast. The most intense cold will be in the northern Plains where temperatures may fall below zero, according to AccuWeather. Gusty winds will make it feel even colder across the region, and time spent outside will need to be limited. In addition to the cold, a storm system may develop over the central USA, AccuWeather said, bringing icy conditions to the central Plains near the dividing line of warm and cold air next week. Snow may be in the forecast for portions of the eastern and even southern USA as the storm is likely to track in that direction into the middle of the week.

Verified account: @RyanMaue       More Arctic blast is courtesy of strong Canadian high pressure (1048 mb). By Monday, the brutal cold front reaches Texas with a good portion of the central Lower 48 experiencing freezing, record cold temperatures. ECMWF 12z update (https://weathermodels.com ) 10:22 AM – 7 Nov 2019

Doyle Rice, USA TODAY

Electric bus has Rochester riders charged up

A 60-foot electric-powered bus parked at Rochester’s downtown transit hub caught some eyes Tuesday.

That was the point.

Rochester Public Transit officials parked the bus at the hub, on Second Street Southwest, as a preview of things to come. A similar model is expected to join the city transit fleet by the end next year, said Nick Lemmer, marketing and outreach coordinator for Rochester Public Transit and Parking.

However, since the bus on display isn’t owned by the city and is not in service, the drivers of the 40-foot diesel buses running their routes at the hub needed the space it occupied.

The bus was moved around the corner onto Second Avenue Southwest.

“We got more traffic there, but we were in the way,” Lemmer said.

The large bus still drew onlookers. “The shape, the attractive color, it’s pretty,” said Robert McIntosh.

The bus attracted at least one transit driver who parked the bus he was driving to see the electric bus up close.

Lemmer said the articulated frame gives the bus a tighter turning radius than the 40-foot buses have. The electric motor generates a smoother and quieter ride.

“You hop on the thing now and you hear the air conditioning fan and that’s about it,” Lemmer said.

The bus has about a 150-mile range on a charge, he added. The city’s long-range transit plan calls for nine electric buses to join the fleet.

The first buses will be used for direct routes and not continuous service. One of the buses can carry about 60 people seated and about another 60 people standing. That’s up 50 percent more than the 40-foot diesel buses carry.

“We’re looking to move larger to and from our park and rides,” Lemmer said.

That means the first bus will be put in service twice a day and can be charged between morning and afternoon runs, even though the bus could likely run both routes on a single charge, Lemmer said.

Transit officials have been watching the performance of Duluth’s electric buses to gauge how well they run in the winter. The first electric bus will likely be equipped with a diesel heater for extreme cold running. Running the electric heater shortens the bus’s range, as does the cold weather itself. The Duluth buses have performed well, Lemmer said, and have to deal with more extreme hills than Rochester presents, he added.

A $2.29 million grant through the federal Low- or No-Emission Grant program made purchasing the bus possible and is helping fund a charging station at the city’s bus garage. An expansion project there will accommodate the charging station.

Delivery of the bus from the manufacturer, New Flyer, is still a year or more away because grant requirements and contracts need to be completed before the order is officially placed.

“Once those are done, the order will be placed and the bus will be on its way,” Lemmer said.

Published by John Molseed Post Bulletin

Rochester, MN is the Best City for Registered Nurses

Today, AdvisorSmith, a leading information resource for small businesses, released a study ranking 375 U.S. cities based on their attractiveness for Registered Nurses. The study considered the following data: • Average salaries for registered nurses • Availability of nursing jobs in each city • Cost of living Key Findings • The #1 city for registered nurses was Rochester, Minnesota, which is home to the world-renowned Mayo Clinic, a nonprofit academic medical center. • The top cities in the report hosted regional medical centers that employed many nurses. These medical centers offered substantial career opportunities for registered nurses and also benefited from a combination of high salaries or low costs of living. • The top large cities for Registered Nurses were Modesto, CA, McAllen, TX, and Augusta, GA. The top midsize cities were Rochester, MN, Flint, MI, and Redding, CA. The top small cities were Bay City, MI, Bloomsburg, PA, and Lima, OH. The first choice for Registered Nurses:

Rochester, MN Rank: 1 Annual Wage: $77920 Cost of Living: 101 Location Quotient: 3.26

For the entire list visit, https://menafn.com/1098455881/Rochester-MN-is-the-Best-City-for-Registered-Nurses

Fun for all ages brings families out to Rochesterfest

Rochesterfest is committed to promoting and celebrating the city of Rochester and southeast Minnesota annually by connecting people through a variety of wholesome, entertaining community events. This is located in downtown Rochester with a parade on Saturday. Grand Parade presented by Clements Chevrolet and your Select Chevy Dealers at 2:00pm start on 6th St SW. Enjoy southern Minnesota’s biggest parade with over 100 units! The Rochester Elks and Knights of Columbus assist with the Parade. Check out all of the fun events and activities at ‘rochesterfest.com’ , going on from June 22nd-3oth.

One Minnesota Town Makes List Of ‘Best Small Cities’.

Rochester, the home of the Mayo Clinic, ranks as the 47th best small city in the nation, according to a new report published this week by researchers at Resonance Consultancy, which offers advice on real estate, tourism and economic development. The firm ranked America’s large and small cities using data and qualitative assessments in six categories: place, product, promotion, prosperity, people and programming, explained below.

Here is a breakdown of Rochester’s rankings out of 50 cities.

•Place: 35 •Product: 75 •Programming: 85 •People: 24 •Prosperity: 20 •Promotion: 102.

The top two small cities couldn’t be more different — respectively, Honolulu, located on Hawaii’s biggest island, and Omaha, Nebraska, which springs up from the cornfields of the Midwest. The report praised Honolulu for its “unparalleled natural beauty” — no argument there — and Omaha for its booming local economy. Indeed, billionaire Warren Buffett still lives in his modest Midwest home and Omaha is home to eight Fortune 500 companies.

  “Thanks in no small part to Buffett, Omaha earns our #1 ranking for prosperity, with the most Fortune 500s (eight) of any city with less than a million people (earning it another #1 ranking for that category as well),” the report said. “But it’s not just stalwarts like Mutual of Omaha that keep this city bustling: a growing tech sector has earned Omaha the nickname ‘Silicon Prairie.’

” After Omaha, the cities rounding out the top five were Charleston, South Carolina; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Tulsa, Oklahoma. While more than a handful of so-called “best city” rankings are published throughout the year, the Resonancy report stands apart for its comprehensiveness, according to Bloomberg.

It’s “the most comprehensive study of its kind; it identifies cities that are most desirable for locals, visitors, and business people alike, rather than simply looking at livability or tourism appeal,” Bloomberg said.

About The Measurement Categories

The promotion ranking reflects the number of stories, references and recommendations shared online about a city. It includes metrics such as Facebook check-ins, Google search results and TripAdvisor reviews. The place category refers to how people view a city’s natural and built environment. These measurements include the number of sunny days expected, crime rate, number of recommended quality neighborhoods and landmarks, and number of quality parks and outdoor activities are available.

Product was often the most challenging metric for cities, the report said. It looks at major institutions and infrastructure, which can be “expensive and difficult to develop and maintain.” Metrics include number of direct airline destinations served by nearby airports, the number of recommended attractions and museums, the ranking of the best local university and even the number of major sports teams.

The prosperity category assessed metrics such as typical household income and number of Global 500 businesses in a city, while the people category looked at population diversity and educational attainment of residents.

Programming evaluated the “experiential pillars of a great visit.” This includes recommended performing arts, cultural experiences and nightlife, as well as number of great restaurants and shopping venues.

(Patch national staffer Dan Hampton contributed to this report).

Living the American Dream can mean different things to different people when it comes to their material situation.

For some, it might mean a white picket fence. For others, it might mean a gilded penthouse high above a big city. Generally, though, most people agree that the American Dream is about living a full and fulfilling life, surrounded by a community of people doing the same. It means having economic opportunity, having the ability to save enough to own the place where you lay your head at night and living someplace where people from all walks of life can live comfortably. ‘SmartAsset’ combed through data to find the cities where the American Dream is most achievable. Specifically, we considered the five metrics: homeownership rate, diversity rate, upward mobility rate, median home value and unemployment rate. This is the 2019 edition of this study.

1. Aurora, IL Aurora, Illinois, a Chicago suburb, is at the top of our list. It has the highest diversity score in the top 10 and ranks well for economic mobility, coming in third place in this list for this metric. Aurora doesn’t lead any single metric we used to determine the best cities for living the American Dream, but places solidly in all of them.

2. Odessa, TX The highest-ranked Texan city in our top 10 is Odessa, located in the western part of the state. This town is another all-around performer. It has the highest score for economic mobility on our list. It also has a homeownership rate of 63.08%, which is the second-highest rate in this top 10.

3. Midland, TX Midland, Texas, another city in the western part of the state, comes in at No. 3. Midland has the lowest unemployment rate in our top 10, at 2.30%. It also ranks well in other metrics, including the second-highest economic mobility rate of all of the other cities on this list.

4. West Valley City, UT West Valley City, Utah lost its top spot on the list this year, but it still places a respectable fourth. It is tied for the second-lowest unemployment rate on this list, at 2.80%.

5. Abilene, TX Abilene, Texas brings us back to the Lone Star State to round out the top half of this list. Located in Central Texas, Abilene has a homeownership rate of more than 60% and a median home value of $114,900 (the lowest home value in our top 10). Diversity suffers, however: Abilene has the worst diversity score among Texas cities in the top 10.

6. Round Rock, TX Round Rock, Texas, located near Austin, is the final Lone Star State town on this list. The unemployment rate is 3.40%, and it has a homeownership rate of 67.79%. Round Rock, however, does have the highest average home value in the top 10, at $267,500.

7. Des Moines, IA Des Moines, Iowa is the first of two cities in Iowa in the top 10. The city does not have a good diversity index score, ranking seventh for this metric out of the top 10, but it has a relatively low unemployment rate of 3.30%.

8. Cedar Rapids, IA Next up is Cedar Rapids, Iowa, which has the second-worst score for diversity on this list. Cedar Rapids also has the highest homeownership rate of all our top 10 cities, at 73.99%.

9. Rochester, MN Rochester, Minnesota is the only representative from the North Star State in this top 10. Rochester has the second-highest homeownership rate in the top 10, at 72.40%. The average home value there is $211,900, which is the third-highest figure for the cities on this list.

Rochester, MN Ranked Highest for Resilience

The Resilience Capacity Index ranks 361 metropolitan areas for their capacity to recover from stresses — recession, natural disaster, etc. — relatively unscathed.

Metropolitan areas in the South and West did not score well in a new ranking called the Resilience Capacity Index that is available on the website of Building Resilient Regions (BRR), a group of experts whose research is supported by the MacArthur Foundation. The top-ranked metro area is Rochester, Minn., while the lowest-ranked is College Station-Bryan, Texas. The rankings were released July 11.

Houston, Los Angeles, San Antonio, and Miami all ranked near the bottom of the index.

BRR Network member Kathryn Foster of the University of Buffalo’s Regional Institute created the index. She explained in a Q&A on the BRR website that 12 factors are included in the scoring. They are grouped into three categories: regional economy, social and demographic factors, and community connectivity. She said network research shows “there are two basic ways to think about resilience. One is as a performance measure -— how well did my region respond to and recover from a stress? The other is as a capacity measure —- how well positioned is my region to respond and recover effectively from a stress? The RCI focuses on capacity. It is a single ranking number that accounts for 12 factors we believe make regions more resilient.”

Regional economy factors are economic diversification, income equality, regional affordability, and overall business environment. Social and demographic factors are educational attainment in the region, percentage of the population living in poverty, percentage with disabilities, and percentage with health insurance. Community connectivity include voter participation, homeownership, how long people have lived in the region, and civic infrastructure.

Asked why civic participation and health insurance are included, she said civic participation is an indicator of civic engagement. Having community networks affords communities a foundation for assistance and support during crises and also a way for residents to become involved in their own communities, she said, and having health insurance provides a foundation for social, physical, and economic security.

Want the Best Hospital Care in the U.S.? Head to Rochester, Minnesota

For the best medical care in the United States, you should probably head to Minnesota. The Mayo Clinic, located in Rochester, tops the latest U.S. News rankings of the country’s best hospitals for children and adults. For the 27th annual list, U.S. News compared 5000 medical centers across the country, ranking them on their quality of general care as well as their expertise in 25 specialties.

The rankings are based on data pertaining to patient survival rates, number of patients, infection rates, staffing numbers, and other objective measures. Here are the top 20 hospitals in the general excellence rankings:

1. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
2. Cleveland Clinic
3. Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston
4. Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore
5. UCLA Medical Center
6. New York-Presbyterian University Hospital of Columbia and Cornell
7. UCSF Medical Center, San Francisco
8. Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago
9. Hospitals of the University of Pennsylvania-Penn Presbyterian, Philadelphia
10. NYU Langone Medical Center
11. Barnes-Jewish Hospital/Washington University, St. Louis
12. UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside, Pittsburgh
13. Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston
14. Stanford Health Care-Stanford Hospital, Stanford, California
15. Mount Sinai Hospital, New York
16. Duke University Hospital, Durham, North Carolina
17. Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles
18. University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers, Ann Arbor
19. Houston Methodist Hospital
20. University of Colorado Hospital, Aurora