Community Observations: Where Next?

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In my last column, I took my 10 best community candidate areas here in East Broward and appended some statistical information about the number of single family homes within 15 minutes’ walk of the “community center,” and provided data about the values of those homes.

The information table is included again this week for your reference.

Now, some things should be readily apparent as you look at the data. First, practically all of Wilton Manors (except perhaps for a small piece in the far southwest corner) could be considered as actual or at least potential “community”. This is likely no surprise to those of us who live and work here. And could bode well for the future of the Island City.

But here is what is a little troubling to me.

When you look at the “cost of entry” – the single family house prices in these areas – you have to wonder about the nature of the community possible there. Is it diverse? Robust? Are different ages and classes amply represented?

Or does that even matter?

Consider that in order to purchase, say, a $400,000 home – a mid-range but by no means grand home in any of these areas – the financial requirements would be significant. In addition to the mortgage (assuming the home were not purchased for cash), there would be substantial annual property taxes, as well as hazard and flood insurances.

Rare would be the circumstances where a $400,000 house, if not bought for cash, could be acquired by a single person or couple who did not have an income of at least $100,000 per year.

So let’s take another statistical meander over to the U.S. Census website, and see how many households in Broward County have incomes in six figures.

According to the Census, the 2015 median household income in Broward County – half the households above, half below – was $54,000. That’s not enough to afford to have the median house in one of our target communities though. You need six figures for that.

Perhaps a bit surprisingly, in 2015 there were 155,000 households here in Broward – roughly 23 percent of the total – where the household income was in six figures.

So yes, there is a significant market cluster than can afford to experience the benefits the community provides, at the current price levels. But not a wide cross section. Does this raise ethical questions? I suppose no one has a right to live in a particular place. But what role can a Realtor – or real estate leader – play in enriching the life of the world around them?

Probably there are areas in the 10 target communities that could be reviewed for different types of housing, and newer, innovative methods of development. There is no shortage of ideas and, as we will see as we continue the series, no real shortage of capital with which to implement these ideas. We will expand on this in the next column.

James Oaksun, Broward's Real Estate Geek(SM), is Broker-Owner of New Realty Concepts in Oakland Park. In addition to having degrees from Dartmouth and Cornell, he is a Graduate of the Realtor Institute (GRI).


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