Sunday, February 11, 2007

Tex and the City

After several years of living in the suburbs, my hubby and I are going urban. We're selling our big sprawling house on the prairie this spring and are moving into the city. Can't wait.

Here are some of the reasons why:

- Big, big yawn. We are way past bored out in the 'burbs. 2.5 kids and a suburban just doesn't do it for us, and people here think we're odd for that (I'm sure).

- Diversity. While our neighbors couldn't be nicer people...we find the lack of diversity here boring. It's like living in Stepford. The lawns are perfect; the houses are perfect; the cars are perfect. And we hardly ever see anyone out and about. It's like nobody lives here. Plus, it's mostly white, corporate/professional types, Bible belters. Nothing wrong with any of that, but we think it's just more interesting to mix it all up with people from different places, cultures and interests. Stimulates my brain cells more, and I can certainly use that. When we go urban, I'm hoping for more variety -- white, black, purple, green, foreign nationals, gay, straight, young, old, artsy, professional, whatever. Makes life more fun.

- I want to walk. In the city, we can park the cars and walk to almost everything. We're moving to a part of downtown that has walking access to shops, cafes, an art cinema, Starbucks, the gym, the grocery store, church and the bike trail. I may never drive again! And if I do, it'll be on the Vespa, zooming in and out of local traffic.

- Easy shut down. Since we spend half of our time in Florida, it will be so much easier to shut down a townhouse and leave it for a month vs. a house.

- Changing styles. I've been wanting to change my interior decore to a more transitional/contemporary style, and this gives me a great chance to do it. I'll send things that don't work in that genre to the consignment store and replace them with that clean-lined, modern look (think Barbara Barry) Yippee! My hubby always complains when I want to "refurnish" but then approves highly when it's finally done.

In searching for the right property, I've come to realize how relatively inexpensive it is to buy housing here. A nice townhouse in the trendy part of town can go for about $200-$300 a square foot. I just read in the London Times that prices per square foot in London are in the $3000 per square foot range. That's more than Manhattan...and Palm Beach.

For my British friends out can anyone afford to buy a home there? Ouch! At London prices, my new townhouse would have cost around $8M dollars. Ha! That would mean me = renter for life.


Miss Forthright said...

A 2 bed flat around here costs about £190,000 on average. Shocking.

Your description of american suburban life reminds me of American Beauty, when Kevin Spacey tries to seduce Annette Bening but she stops him because he has beer on a $4,000 couch.

SandDancer said...

One of things I like best about London is the mix of people. Where I'm originally from its pretty much entirely a white population and as its not the sort of place anyone would want to move to, most people have lived there for generations. Property however is pretty reasonable, unlike London (and actually a growing number of places in the UK).

We don't tend to use the square footage thing so much over here but it is stupidly expensive. Where I live (which isn't by any means the nicest part of London) it now getting very difficult to get a 2 bed flat for under £270k, wihch is a lot more than my auntie near Atlantic City bought a 5 bedroom house with a pool for. We all live in shoe boxes.

M said...

For a large city, Dallas probably has the most reasonable home prices in the country. The median price is $150,000 for probably 2500 sf (3-4 bedrooms). In contrast, where we live in Florida, it is $400,000. Whenever I meet someone who has moved here from somewhere else, they can't believe how much house they can buy for the money. They are literally giddy about it. We have lots of land in Texas, and it seems like we can build forever into the horizon.

Miss F -- yes, that's the type of atmosphere you can find in some of the 'burbs here. Big, beautiful homes (term: McMansions), with big beautiful yards and sofas covered in throw pillows that noone actually ever sits on. Oh, but they look good. :):)

Miss Forthright said...

*jaw drops to floor*

So in Dallas me and P could buy a little ranch?! Sweet jesus.

M said...

Yep. Maybe a big one. :)