Here’s a tidbit from a Seattle P-I story last week about the lack of families with children downtown. The article doesn’t really have much to do with home prices or bubbles, but we have talked at length about downtown condos in the past, so it is at least worth mentioning.
Sure, there’s a way to get families to live in Seattle’s urban core, but someone needs to go first — and that seems to be the problem.
Parents say they need condos built with families in mind. Developers and families say they need a downtown school. And school district officials say they need to see some demand.
But many local parents leave condos — big ones, in neighborhoods with good parks and schools — because they feel the need for their own yard. So maybe the real problem is an intangible — a cultural bias against raising children in condos. And observers suggest changing that might require gas to become so expensive and affordable houses with yards to be so far away that commuting takes too much time and money.
Oh my, it sounds like such a delightful utopia, doesn’t it? After reading this article I remembered how we’re always hearing that demand for downtown condos comes from “retiring baby boomers” (old people whose kids have grown up and moved out) and “young professionals” (young people with no kids). If families with children won’t move downtown unless they’re basically forced to, I guess those two groups would have to be the ones driving condo demand, considering they’re pretty much all that’s left. That is of course, if you assume that the demand coming from “investors” is negligible.
(Aubrey Cohen, Seattle P-I, 10.16.2006)