How do you do it without busting the Gen X piggy bank?
Let’s face it, 80% of the effort in building a true Gen X town is providing affordable homes in the coolest parts of the city. So, while it’s hopeless to buy a $200K condo in Manhattan, it’s not out of the question to buy a cooler home between $150-$180K in a one-of-a-kind, nightlife-oriented neighborhood.
Here’s how these investors will do it: Build not so big, stripped down/customizable units between 900 to 1200 sf, 10 ft. ceilings, and “unbundled parking” (lease rather than buy parking spaces, which is great if you don’t have a car). The buildings would be six stories, with the lower floor hosting your third places – anything above six stories requires rather costly steel and concrete.
Since the average debt for college graduates is $12-$15K, work with them a year in advance to manage their debt load to afford a home, then provide a rent-to-own program where a portion of their rent goes toward a down payment to buy. Not owning a car also increases the value of home one qualifies for – another reason why a CoolTown is designed to be walkable.
Finally, provide three bedroom units that provide Xers with rent income in the early years, office/workout space in subsequent years, and kid rooms when they’ve crossed that domestic bridge.