Migration to the Urban Core
There has been a quiet and growing shift from the suburbs to the urban areas in cities across this country especially in the west. The demographic of migrants to the urban core might surprise you. It is not solely the youth of America, who have always somewhat favored the more urban areas or the immigrants from other countries; retirees and families are also among the migrants. While central Phoenix locations such as Arcadia, the Biltmore, and the Central Corridor certainly have an affluent air and boast the best dining destinations in the valley, many are surprised to learn one can find anything from an affordable apartment to condo, loft, townhouse, a modest single family home to a multi-million dollar estate. I was surprised when Central Phoenix Real Estate expert Roberta Candelaria told me how many valley suburbanites were so unaware that the real charm and allure of Central Phoenix is in its diversity. She furthered shared that a little noticed effect of the Great Recession was a revitalizing of the urban cores of many large cities and Central Phoenix is no exception. In fact, Central Phoenix in many ways is a shining example of that.
Prior to the Great Recession, many that are now migrating to the urban core from the suburbs were so firmly entrenched in the suburbs they never even gave urban living a thought. Life in Suburbia was characterized by neighborhoods of new or newer track homes with manicured yards, wide well maintained streets, beautiful schools, super-sized supermarkets, shopping malls and on the outskirts custom home neighborhoods of McMansions on ½ acre to 1 acre lots. It was Suburban bliss.
Then came the crash heard around the world and we found ourselves in the Great Recession. The quality of life in the suburbs began eroding at a record pace. Home values began to decline rapidly and income trailed right behind, and soon the well-manicured yards began to show the signs of distress. Foreclosures and short sales began popping up everywhere; homes sat empty and uncared for and shopping centers became increasingly vacant. Suburbia began to resemble what many associated with the urban core, including a high numbers of store closures, graffiti, and neighborhoods with an increasing number of renters translating into a considerable spike in the misery index.
So a few years later suburbanites in search of a better quality of life are discovering in addition to the convenient central location, there is a distinct urban core character that really does have something for everyone. Families for example are discovering that there are established neighborhoods with lovely older single family homes often on larger lots than in the burbs with lush mature landscaping in the heart of Central Phoenix. The reputations of the Madison School District and the Biltmore Preparatory Academy’s reputations are cited as major benefits for families with children as well.
Among the numerous reasons for leaving suburbia, the chief among them is the ability to reduce commutes, not only to work but also to attend valley events. Major cities in the western United States are vast in their sprawl compared to their eastern counterparts, and Phoenix leads the pack in that regard. As Americans we spend on average 25 minutes commuting to work and 25 minutes commuting home from work. In Phoenix the average time is slightly higher at 29 minutes each way and approximately 75% drive alone.
Urban migrants say while their commute may still be 25-30 minutes, they can catch the light rail or a bus and actually catch up on reading, or continue working via their cell, tablet or laptop. This is especially attractive to single urban migrants. They drive less so less gas, fewer oil changes, and less general maintenance which translates into a significant savings. One urbanite commented it also saves hassles and that savings had seriously enhanced he and his wife’s quality of life, as she no longer hassles him on his attitude, i.e. road-rage whether he was the “rager” or the cause of another drivers’ road-rage. While his comment was somewhat tongue-in-cheek, his wife’s wry smile signaled there was a very real element of truth to his comment.
Single urban migrants also say the huge variety of condo, loft and townhouse styles and amenities coupled with the downtown nightlife just minutes away was also a huge draw for them. They feel that they are realizing additional savings by choosing to live in condos, lofts and townhouses. They no longer spend time and money caring for their yards, keeping the paint fresh on their homes, and other general maintenance. Included in many condo, loft and townhouse association fees are things like a blanket Insurance policy, water, street maintenance, sewer, roof repair/replacement , garbage collection, front yard maintenance, exterior paint, common area maintenance, cable or satellite and boast such amenities as concierge services, pools, barbecues, fitness centers, business centers, clubrooms, secured parking and controlled access to lobby.
Empty-nester urban converts say it’s the variety of things to do in their neighborhoods, like being able to walk down the block to the neighborhood market or the butcher and especially appealing is that the shopkeepers and clerks remember you and greet you by name. The say the lifestyle is reminiscent of a time when things were not so hurried. One woman shared that she and her husband go a few blocks out their way when coming home to drive down the Central Corridor because it is so scenic and peaceful and make it seem as if the city is worlds away.
Whatever the reason for moving from the suburbs to the urban core, all urban migrants seem to agree their quality of life improved after moving. They also agree expert representation is an important factor. Roberta Candelaria, Broker of Phoenix Urban Spaces, is known for being the foremost expert on the Phoenix Valley’s most exclusive and exceptional urban communities. Focused on building lasting relationships and assisting with all types of real estate needs, Roberta has built the Phoenix Urban Spaces brand by offering unparalleled client care, world-class sales and marketing solutions, professional negotiation techniques, and the detailed knowledge of the Central Phoenix real estate market needed to ensure success.
As a Central Phoenix Realtor, Roberta has extensive experience finding distinctive and unique living options in and around Phoenix and is always happy to share her knowledge and expertise with each and every client. Check back weekly and see what Central Phoenix has to offer and if you are considering a move please give Roberta a call!