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Rising gas prices threaten to kill the lifestyle of the exurban commuter

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Sky-high gasoline prices aren't just raising the cost of Eugene Marino's 120-mile (193-kilometer) round-trip to his job in the Washington area. They're reducing his wealth, too.

House prices in his rural subdivision beyond the Blue Ridge Mountains in Charles Town, West Virginia, have plunged as commuting expenses have soared. A four-bedroom home down the street from his is listed for $239,000, after selling new for $360,000 five years ago.

...

"Our whole economy reflects the relative costs of energy: the cars we drive, the houses we occupy, the kinds of factories we have and the equipment in them,'' says Dana Johnson, chief economist at Comerica Bank in Dallas. "I'm expecting relatively large changes in all of these things.''

...

"At $4 per gallon gas, $125 per barrel oil and $10 per million Btu natural gas, a lot of activity becomes uneconomical,'' says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Economy.com in West Chester, Pennsylvania.

The lifestyle of the exurban commuter may be one casualty.

Emerging suburbs and exurbs -- commuter towns that lie beyond cities and their traditional suburbs -- grew about 15 percent from 2000 to 2006, nearly three times as fast as the U.S. population, as Americans moved further out in search of more affordable houses or the bigger ones that are sometimes derided as McMansions.

"It was drive until you qualify'' for a mortgage, says Robert Lang, director of the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech in Alexandria, Virginia. "You can't do that anymore. Your cost of transportation will spike too much.''

The 38-year-old Marino, an archeologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, is among those feeling the pinch. "Eating out and discretionary income are a thing of the past for us,'' he says.

He reckons he once could have sold his 2,700 square-foot (250 square-meter), four-bedroom house for around $450,000 based on the value of other homes in the neighborhood. Now he figures it's worth about $330,000. Gasoline prices have doubled his commuting costs since he bought his home in 2003, he says.

"Gas prices are really hurting demand here,'' says Celia Lainez, a broker at Keller Williams Rice Realty in Martinsburg, West Virginia. She says she has yet to receive a bid on the house down the street from Marino's, which has been on the market for five months.

Nationwide, home prices in neighborhoods with long commutes and no public transportation are falling faster than prices in communities closer to cities, according to a study by Joseph Cortright, an economist at Impresa Consulting. For example, his study found that prices in distant suburbs of Tampa fell 14 percent in the last 12 months, versus a 9 percent drop in areas nearer the city.

"The decline in almost every case is worse in the suburbs and exurbs than it is in close-in neighborhoods because transportation costs are so much more of a factor,'' says Cortright, whose Portland, Oregon, firm studies regional economies.

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=206...&refer=home


Man is made by his belief. As he believes, so he is.

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Filed: Lift. Cond. (apr) Country: Egypt
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It's the economy, Stoopid.


Don't just open your mouth and prove yourself a fool....put it in writing.

It gets harder the more you know. Because the more you find out, the uglier everything seems.

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I never understood why someone would live that far from his/hers work anyway. There are guys where I work that live more than 50 miles away. They have taken an apartment in town and just go home on the weekends. It's insane. I found a very nice neighborhood just 5 miles from work. All the appeal of suburbia and a short drive to work.

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I never understood why someone would live that far from his/hers work anyway. There are guys where I work that live more than 50 miles away. They have taken an apartment in town and just go home on the weekends. It's insane. I found a very nice neighborhood just 5 miles from work. All the appeal of suburbia and a short drive to work.

You are a smart man!


Man is made by his belief. As he believes, so he is.

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The thought of suburban living gives me the hives... :huh:


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I never understood why someone would live that far from his/hers work anyway. There are guys where I work that live more than 50 miles away. They have taken an apartment in town and just go home on the weekends. It's insane. I found a very nice neighborhood just 5 miles from work. All the appeal of suburbia and a short drive to work.

Not everyone has that option available.


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I never understood why someone would live that far from his/hers work anyway. There are guys where I work that live more than 50 miles away. They have taken an apartment in town and just go home on the weekends. It's insane. I found a very nice neighborhood just 5 miles from work. All the appeal of suburbia and a short drive to work.

Not everyone has that option available.

I guess it's the advantage of choosing the right place to live.

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I never understood why someone would live that far from his/hers work anyway. There are guys where I work that live more than 50 miles away. They have taken an apartment in town and just go home on the weekends. It's insane. I found a very nice neighborhood just 5 miles from work. All the appeal of suburbia and a short drive to work.

Not everyone has that option available.

SoCal is tough. I can relate, my area is similar.

What do you feel your options are?


Man is made by his belief. As he believes, so he is.

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Filed: Country: England
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I never understood why someone would live that far from his/hers work anyway. There are guys where I work that live more than 50 miles away. They have taken an apartment in town and just go home on the weekends. It's insane. I found a very nice neighborhood just 5 miles from work. All the appeal of suburbia and a short drive to work.

Not everyone has that option available.

I guess it's the advantage of choosing the right place to live.

you make it sound all so cut and dry. People have to find jobs wherever they are. The neighborhoods in the surrounding area might not be in someone's price range. And then people may find they have to change a job...changing housing isn't so easy in this housing market. I believe Platy works far from home, but he lives in a home that is paid off (I believe it's a family home...I may be wrong on this). Why should he move if he likes his home, just to live close to a job that may be in an area he doesn't like, is more expensive, isn't as safe, the reasons could go on and on.


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I live in a small 50 year old one story brick bungalow inside the city of Houston. The market value doubled since I bought it 15 years ago and prices have not dropped in my neighborhood. The traffic is actually worst in the suburbs than it is in the city. There is a lot to be said for living close in at a central location in a sprawling city. There is a lot to be said for owning a small house that doesn't cost an arm and a leg in energy costs. And I paid the morgage off a long, long time ago.

Right now I could buy a bigger new house for the same price or cheaper way out from the city, but why would I want to? It's cheaper to stay where I'm at. Bigger isn't always better.


"Credibility in immigration policy can be summed up in one sentence: Those who should get in, get in; those who should be kept out, are kept out; and those who should not be here will be required to leave."

"...for the system to be credible, people actually have to be deported at the end of the process."

US Congresswoman Barbara Jordan (D-TX)

Testimony to the House Immigration Subcommittee, February 24, 1995

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you make it sound all so cut and dry. People have to find jobs wherever they are. The neighborhoods in the surrounding area might not be in someone's price range. And then people may find they have to change a job...changing housing isn't so easy in this housing market. I believe Platy works far from home, but he lives in a home that is paid off (I believe it's a family home...I may be wrong on this). Why should he move if he likes his home, just to live close to a job that may be in an area he doesn't like, is more expensive, isn't as safe, the reasons could go on and on.

People can move if they want to. But like you said, often they don't want to. In which case, they're making a choice, they can't reasonably say they have to.

Bigger isn't always better.

:thumbs:

Edited by VJ Troll

Man is made by his belief. As he believes, so he is.

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I never understood why someone would live that far from his/hers work anyway. There are guys where I work that live more than 50 miles away. They have taken an apartment in town and just go home on the weekends. It's insane. I found a very nice neighborhood just 5 miles from work. All the appeal of suburbia and a short drive to work.

Not everyone has that option available.

I guess it's the advantage of choosing the right place to live.

you make it sound all so cut and dry. People have to find jobs wherever they are. The neighborhoods in the surrounding area might not be in someone's price range. And then people may find they have to change a job...changing housing isn't so easy in this housing market. I believe Platy works far from home, but he lives in a home that is paid off (I believe it's a family home...I may be wrong on this). Why should he move if he likes his home, just to live close to a job that may be in an area he doesn't like, is more expensive, isn't as safe, the reasons could go on and on.

As Troll says, it's a choice. I moved 3 years ago for a better job and it was the best thing I ever did. I had to make some sacrifices along the way (living in an apartment for 2 years) but it was worth it.

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you make it sound all so cut and dry. People have to find jobs wherever they are. The neighborhoods in the surrounding area might not be in someone's price range. And then people may find they have to change a job...changing housing isn't so easy in this housing market. I believe Platy works far from home, but he lives in a home that is paid off (I believe it's a family home...I may be wrong on this). Why should he move if he likes his home, just to live close to a job that may be in an area he doesn't like, is more expensive, isn't as safe, the reasons could go on and on.

People can move if they want to. But like you said, often they don't want to. In which case, they're making a choice, they can't reasonably say they have to.

Everything is choice. You can choose to buy a house just to be close to work and then hate where you live. You shouldn't have to hate where you live just because it's more convenient. You can also choose not to work and sleep on a park bench.


Co-Founder of VJ Fluffy Kitty Posse -
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31 Dec 2003 MARRIED
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30 Jun 2005 Arrived at Chicago POE
02 Apr 2007 Filed I751; 22 May 2008 Received 10-yr green card
14 Jul 2012 Citizenship Oath Ceremony

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you make it sound all so cut and dry. People have to find jobs wherever they are. The neighborhoods in the surrounding area might not be in someone's price range. And then people may find they have to change a job...changing housing isn't so easy in this housing market. I believe Platy works far from home, but he lives in a home that is paid off (I believe it's a family home...I may be wrong on this). Why should he move if he likes his home, just to live close to a job that may be in an area he doesn't like, is more expensive, isn't as safe, the reasons could go on and on.

People can move if they want to. But like you said, often they don't want to. In which case, they're making a choice, they can't reasonably say they have to.

Everything is choice. You can choose to buy a house just to be close to work and then hate where you live. You shouldn't have to hate where you live just because it's more convenient. You can also choose not to work and sleep on a park bench.

Right. I'm glad we are in violent agreement.


Man is made by his belief. As he believes, so he is.

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Filed: Country: England
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I never understood why someone would live that far from his/hers work anyway. There are guys where I work that live more than 50 miles away. They have taken an apartment in town and just go home on the weekends. It's insane. I found a very nice neighborhood just 5 miles from work. All the appeal of suburbia and a short drive to work.

Not everyone has that option available.

I guess it's the advantage of choosing the right place to live.

you make it sound all so cut and dry. People have to find jobs wherever they are. The neighborhoods in the surrounding area might not be in someone's price range. And then people may find they have to change a job...changing housing isn't so easy in this housing market. I believe Platy works far from home, but he lives in a home that is paid off (I believe it's a family home...I may be wrong on this). Why should he move if he likes his home, just to live close to a job that may be in an area he doesn't like, is more expensive, isn't as safe, the reasons could go on and on.

As Troll says, it's a choice. I moved 3 years ago for a better job and it was the best thing I ever did. I had to make some sacrifices along the way (living in an apartment for 2 years) but it was worth it.

So you made a sacrifice that someone else might consider insane...live in an apartment, throwing away rent money?? Insane... *shrug* There isn't a one-size-fits-all choice.


Co-Founder of VJ Fluffy Kitty Posse -
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31 Dec 2003 MARRIED
26 Jan 2004 Filed I130; 23 May 2005 Received Visa
30 Jun 2005 Arrived at Chicago POE
02 Apr 2007 Filed I751; 22 May 2008 Received 10-yr green card
14 Jul 2012 Citizenship Oath Ceremony

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