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Category Archive: ‘Interesting Houses’

Climate Change and Real Estate


This comes from the, not me:

MIAMI — Real estate agents looking to sell coastal properties usually focus on one thing: how close the home is to the water’s edge. But buyers are increasingly asking instead how far back it is from the waterline. How many feet above sea level? Is it fortified against storm surges? Does it have emergency power and sump pumps?

Rising sea levels are changing the way people think about waterfront real estate. Though demand remains strong and developers continue to build near the water in many coastal cities, homeowners across the nation are slowly growing wary of buying property in areas most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

A warming planet has already forced a number of industries — coal, oil, agriculture and utilities among them — to account for potential future costs of a changed climate. The real estate industry, particularly along the vulnerable coastlines, is slowly awakening to the need to factor in the risks of catastrophic damage from climate change, including that wrought by rising seas and storm-driven flooding.

But many economists say that this reckoning needs to happen much faster and that home buyers urgently need to be better informed. Some analysts say the economic impact of a collapse in the waterfront property market could surpass that of the bursting dot-com and real estate bubbles of 2000 and 2008.

The fallout would be felt by property owners, developers, real estate lenders and the financial institutions that bundle and resell mortgages.

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Posted by on Dec 6, 2016 in Interesting Houses, Jim's Take on the Market, The Future, This Is America | 9 comments

Retire At Sea


Maybe you don’t have to worry about where to move – just float around!

H/T Daytrip!

Retirement has often been synonymous with quietly living out your golden years in a sunny climate. But for a more adventurous breed of retirees, the end of work life opens a door to a more extreme type of sea change.

The siren’s call of cabin life is beckoning increasing numbers to traverse the globe via the ocean. And, it’s a surprisingly more attractive – and affordable – option than assisted living for some retirees.

The number of people who take cruises is at an all-time high, with 24 million passengers expected to set sail this year worldwide versus 15 million a decade ago, according to the Washington, DC-based Cruise Lines International Association. Half of these cruisers are 50 or older, and, of those, a small number are making the ocean a second home or even their permanent home.

Cruise ships might be an ideal retirement destination, although some things such as healthcare can be tricky. They offer, well, everything. From nightly entertainment to exercise equipment to Internet, most ships are equipped with anything you need to make a place home — including the travel, often a big priority for younger retirees. While no group tracks the number of people choosing this new form of retirement, a handful of cruise lines confirmed that they are seeing more near-year-round cruisers with some frequency.

For some, retirement at sea involves taking over a small stateroom on a standard cruise ship with repeated sailings and itineraries. For others, it means purchasing a “residence” (a high-end apartment at sea) on a luxury ship like The World, which is managed by Florida-based ROW Management Limited, or the yet-to-launch Southern California-based Utopia, both offering exotic destinations and expeditions.

“[These are] people who love to travel, don’t want to be responsible for any type of home maintenance, want to ditch the car, are healthy, and are comfortable living with an ever-changing ‘neighbourhood’,” says Jan Cullinane, Florida-based author of The New Retirement: The Ultimate Guide to the Rest of Your Life.

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Posted by on Dec 5, 2016 in Boomers, Interesting Houses, Jim's Take on the Market | 0 comments

Tiny Houses


Thanks daytrip!

For retirees looking to undergo extreme downsizing, a tiny home might be the answer. The average tiny home measures 186 square feet. That’s a fraction of the size of a traditional house. But limited space offers unique benefits, including lower utility bills and easier upkeep. Retirees are taking notice. Nearly 30% of tiny home residents are between the ages of 51 and 70, according to a 2015 survey conducted by, a tiny home website.

Cost makes tiny homes particularly appealing to retirees living on fixed incomes. The average price to build a tiny home yourself is just $23,000, according to You’ll pay more to have someone build it for you — the 10 tiny homes for retirees we feature start at $45,000 — but the price tag will still be far less than what you’d pay for a full-size home. In 2015, the median sale price of a new traditional house was $296,200, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. As for mortgages, 68% of tiny home owners don’t have them, while just 29% of all U.S. homeowners are living mortgage-free.

If you’re intrigued by the prospect of retiring to a tiny home, be sure to find one designed to suit the needs of retirement-age owners. Look for safety features such as slip-resistant floors, and avoid sleeping lofts with ladders. Also weigh the pros and cons of a mobile tiny home that can be moved around on a trailer versus one placed on a permanent foundation on land you own.

Posted by on Dec 3, 2016 in Interesting Houses, Jim's Take on the Market, The Future | 5 comments

Floating Homes


More on new housing alternatives, primarily suited for the younger folks:

Argh, matey! A new trend in housing is afloat in Denmark, with college students from Copenhagen solving their cash-strapped housing woes with a series of floating apartments.

The Copenhagen-based housing startup Urban Rigger designed a series of low-cost modular housing to float in Copenhagen’s urban harbors. At only $600 a month (a real deal in the trendy city), these shared living spaces provide students with a private bedroom, bathroom and kitchen.

Built with the help of Danish architecture firm Bjarke Ingels, each unit—crafted from modular shipping containers—can house up to 12 students. The spaces also include community gardens, kayak landings, bathing platforms, and outdoor cooking areas—and who wouldn’t want to attend a college rager on a boat?

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Posted by on Nov 16, 2016 in Interesting Houses, Jim's Take on the Market, The Future | 5 comments

Luxury Bunker

Worried that the end is near?  How about a bunker! H/T daytrip:

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — Some upper-income Texans are headed down below, not Australia, but below the surface.

An investor group is planning for a doomsday scenario by building a $300 million luxury community replete with underground homes. There will also be air-lock blast doors designed for people worried about a dirty bomb or other disaster and off-grid energy and water production.

The development, called Trident Lakes, is northeast of Dallas.

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Posted by on Nov 15, 2016 in Interesting Houses, Jim's Take on the Market | 0 comments

Modern vs. Contemporary


A comment left at the WSJ site: “Prairie mixed with Craftsman”

John Stewart, residential committee chair of the American Institute of Architects, helps explain the difference. Modern homes and décor have the simple lines and “stripped-down” aesthetic of 1940s, ’50s and ’60s modernism, said Mr. Stewart, an architect in San Carlos, Calif. Other qualities associated with modern design: cube-shaped structures with flat roofs, monochromatic color palettes, low-key furnishings and a greater use of exposed steel and concrete. Modern “is probably the original contemporary style,” said Mr. Stewart.

Contemporary homes are often more playful in combining materials and bright colors, explained Sheila Schmitz, editor of home-design website Houzz. Some may include a dramatic black-and-white palette. Interiors are flooded with natural light and floor plans emphasize indoor-outdoor living. When it comes to spotting home décor, “those terms are really good starting points to start a conversation, and then kind of go from there,” she says.



Posted by on Nov 12, 2016 in Interesting Houses, Jim's Take on the Market | 0 comments