The McMansion Age Ends

Good news for the average Decatur home owner.

More similar Trulia “infographics” HERE!

h/t: CNBC: Death of the McMansion

Slumming It in Your McMansion

If you’re an urban planner, preservationist, or follow developments in either field, you may have heard the theory that one day soon many of the nation’s newest subdivisions that sit on the very fringes of our metropolitan areas will take the place of the inner city as the nation’s new slums.

Well, according to this recent Atlantic article (which is now free to all), this speculation is already showing clear signs of becoming reality. As populations begin to move back closer to the city center after years of fleeing to the manicured lawns and weekends of sameness, these poorly constructed McMansions will become the tenements of tomorrow.

Here’s a tease…

Strange days are upon the residents of many a suburban cul-de-sac. Once-tidy yards have become overgrown, as the houses they front have gone vacant. Signs of physical and social disorder are spreading.

At Windy Ridge, a recently built starter-home development seven miles northwest of Charlotte, North Carolina, 81 of the community’s 132 small, vinyl-sided houses were in foreclosure as of late last year. Vandals have kicked in doors and stripped the copper wire from vacant houses; drug users and homeless people have furtively moved in. In December, after a stray bullet blasted through her son’s bedroom and into her own, Laurie Talbot, who’d moved to Windy Ridge from New York in 2005, told The Charlotte Observer, “I thought I’d bought a home in Pleasantville. I never imagined in my wildest dreams that stuff like this would happen.”

In the Franklin Reserve neighborhood of Elk Grove, California, south of Sacramento, the houses are nicer than those at Windy Ridge—many once sold for well over $500,000—but the phenomenon is the same. At the height of the boom, 10,000 new homes were built there in just four years. Now many are empty; renters of dubious character occupy others. Graffiti, broken windows, and other markers of decay have multiplied. Susan McDonald, president of the local residents’ association and an executive at a local bank, told the Associated Press, “There’s been gang activity. Things have really been changing, the last few years.”

So, if you’re into development patterns or you just want to feel better about paying an arm and a leg for a more modest-sized Decatur/Atlanta house or condo, take a few minutes and check it out. It’ll make you even happier that you’re not living on the fringes in poorly constructed luxury.