• Nicholas Yale

The Nest of the Story - by Polly Mitchell


Whether you are a Baby Boomer, a Gen X-er, or a Millennial, moving is a decision based on the lifestyle for which you are ready to embark.

The latest trend finds that many more Americans, especially Baby Boomers and empty nesters, are moving back to the city. No longer are the days of dropping the kids off at school, taking them to team sports or practice. There will be no more broken sprinkler heads or replacing high dollar home equipment such as air conditioning units and worn-out plumbing. Nope, the kids have flown off, the house is too big, they don't want to fix things, and so they are pulling up stakes and trading it all in for a simpler yet active lifestyle.

So what do they seek instead? What is the trade-off?

Over the last few years, high population urban centers such as downtown Phoenix, Tempe, and Scottsdale, to mention a few, have enjoyed a growth in residential dwellings. That presents a greater diversity of what types of amenities have become available, especially in new builds.

On the top of that list are concierge services and minimal maintenance. Many boomers fancy the idea relieving themselves of the burden of cars, house maintenance, and seasonal tasks such as replanting the winter lawn.

Many of these sleek new buildings offer walkability. There are nearby parks with walking and biking trails and building amenities like fitness centers. The grocery store, the movie theater, and art museums are now just around the corner. Public transportation is in more abundance and much easier to access. Several restaurants and coffee houses are just steps away, and hanging at a nearby cocktail lounge with friends suddenly is much more spontaneous; everything is more spontaneous! These are the new must-haves among those who are looking to move to the inner city, and it's now just a short walk away! No more driving everywhere!

In a recent Chicago Tribune article on this very subject, they quote one woman who had this to say. "City living is so exciting. When I lived in the suburbs, the last thing I wanted to do when I got back from work was driving downtown to do something. And now I go places all the time, and I think it's the most wonderful change."

A 2013 PRB (Population Reference Bureau) study finds that neighborhood levels of sociability and walkability are positively linked to self-rated health among adults ages 45 to 84. They also found that older adults living in less compact residential areas—such as sprawling suburban neighborhoods—spend less time walking per week compared with those living in mixed-use or commercial areas.

It's a win-win. Not only are you close to everything you want or need, but you also walk or even bike because it's now conducive to where you live.

Taking a look at the inside, many of these new homes offer privacy, high-quality upgrades, with features like fireplaces, barbeques, pools they don't have to maintain, and balconies with great views. There is package concierge, and often, there are private events right in your building to help build community and allow you to get to know your neighbors.

It's a fascinating and new shift for a population ready to make and enjoy a very energized transition in the way they live. I love seeing my clients make a change from suburban living to downtown, urban living. It's the most satisfying thing and warms my heart when they close one important chapter in their life and are ready to leap into a new chapter of urban adventure! It's exciting to see them reborn, have more energy, and playfulness, going from a more sedentary to an active lifestyle, feeling more youthful, adventurous, and vibrant. They enjoy their more cultural and relaxed lifestyle that allows for more traveling and taking in all sorts of fun activities and events all week long (every night) with new friends in their building! Life becomes more playful and fun…spur of the moment! The possibilities are endless for them!

So are you ready to fly into the city? The amenities are amazing! Oh, and don't worry about that old nest, there's plenty of birds willing to take it over.

-Polly Mitchell

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