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Affordable TND?

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My wife and I lived in Orlando for 3 years with the intention of settling down in Celebration. However, the real estate market there has gotten so inflated and the town has become practically empty (vacation homes) that it no longer interests us. We have been looking for a new development of considerable size (>750 acres) with the TND and new urbanism traits but it seems that everything these days is so overpriced that we're afraid we may never find what we're looking for.

There seems to be alot going on the in the Charlotte, NC area and some other areas that I would consider remote (maybe that's too harsh, we're from Philly). One of the primary criteria is that wherever we move, we must be able to sustain our way of living. The problem I'm finding is that many of these new neighborhoods/developments are so far away from viable economic centers that my salary would drop 25%. But certainly the average home prices are not lower and in-line with the local salaries. There seems to be alot going on in Albuquerque but again, when I search monster.com and 2 jobs come up, that rules it out.

Can anyone out there recommend some new developments to keep an eye on, preferably on the East coast and still in the planning stages? We don't plan to make the move until early 2007 and would want to get in on the "ground floor".

I should probably define what I mean when I say "affordable". It seems every development starts in the $300K's now whereas just 3 years ago you could get in for $180K. In fact, many of the developments I looked at are $400K+ and they're in areas where the local population's median income is < $50K a year. It's pretty sad when a family with $100K income is priced out of everything. Who is buying these houses?!?

Things have gotten so complicated in the past 3 years with this housing bubble (if you want to call it that) :)

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Some TOD's going up in and around Boston, check out the Boston Transit forum on this site. One of them is Wonderland TOD. They're all pretty much still in the works though, not too much built yet.

P.S. Celebration :sick: What is it really like? I heard its sickeningly touristy and completely fake

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Celebration is really nice when you drive through and spend some time there. But after you've been there for awhile you start to get the sense that much of the town is empty. The problem seems to be a couple factors.

First, the housing boom that everyone is experiencing because of the low interest rates. This just raises prices across the country and Celebration isn't exempt. Second, the weak U.S. dollar compared to the Euro. So alot of europeans are buying vacation homes in Celebration that were once unaffordable because of the exchange rate. Third, Orlando itself is booming, there once was a time when $500K would get you in any community, including the exclusive gated areas where celebrities live. For all these reasons, and because Celebration is just 1-2 years away from completion, prices have skyrocketed.

Just to get in the game (new construction) you're talking $500K and that buys you roughly 2000 sq. ft. which equates to a 3 bedroom house. Even the resales are rediculous, I checked last night and the cheapest was $480K for 1800 sq. ft. (single family, not a condo).

So aside from the rediculous prices and the emptiness, it's awesome :) I just don't know how the local economy supports the housing prices, well that applies to anywhere like I said in my original post. I can't see how a house is $500K in South Carolina when the median household income is $40K. Sure alot of the sales are retired folks but I wouldn't expect more than 50% of new homes to be for retirees nor can I imagine they would spend what equates to their nestegg for a $500K house.

Sorry I strayed off the subject. Celebration was and could've been really great, it's a shame the economics and demand have twisted the outcome. You have your share of tourists coming through but we never really noticed them they kinda blend in. If you want to get a better idea of how bad things have gotten, check out the Celebration forums. A lot of the homeowners aren't happy:


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Keep in mind that TOD (Transit Oriented Development) and TND (Traditional Neighborhood Development) are two different things, though they are similar in some regards. TND typically does not have a transit stop and usually has less intense land use as a whole.

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