When my daughter was born I immediately wanted land, as in dirt and grass and trees. Some sort of craving for a nest grew in me. I started cruising Zillow for cabins inspired by Zach Klein and friend’s freecabinporn.com and beaverbrook. I started cruising upstater.net too. A year later, when she got to hang out on her grandma’s lawn, she was scared of grass. I looked a little harder.
My criteria is that I’d like to have 5 acres or more, a small cabin with a flushing toilet and warm water shower, and ideally a stream to play in and woods to walk in. In many cases this type of arrangement can go for a very reasonable amount if I’m willing to drive 2-3 hours to get there.
Outside of NYC, prices are going down. More and more home owners are underwater and so there is a growing number of short sales and foreclosures. I don’t want to get stuck buying something that I couldn’t sell later. Also, outside of NYC, rents are going down with the exception of getaway houses for rent for the summer to people in NYC.
To me this all signals that the housing market in rural areas a few hours from NYC is not doing so well and any thing I buy will go down in value.
Property taxes are also on the rise in rural areas as towns and counties struggle to fund schools and other public facing infrastructure. The lowering of prices and the increase in taxes means that for anything I could buy, even at the low end, spending money on regular weekend getaways using Airbnb.com starts looking better than investing in real estate.
But I can’t help it, I still daydream of a getaway with a wood stove and a babbling brook and dirt for my daughter to play with. Zillow still calls out to me when I have time to browse the Internet and I’ve got a whole routine for exploring cabins and other rural possibilities.
What is your daydream cabin look like? What small towns call out to you?