… but probably not what you think.
You know that the city of Dayton has a vacancy problem, and there has been a lot of discussion about what to do with vacant, abandoned properties. Tearing them down is one option of course, and probably the one that gets the most discussion, and there is a problem with tearing them down because then you have an empty space, and what do you do with that? I believe that the vacancy problem is two-fold. Not only does Dayton have too many homes, Dayton has too many of the wrong type of home.
Yes, Virginia, there really are people who want to live in Dayton Ohio. They want to experience all that Dayton has to offer- celebratory and inexpensive stuff to do, vibrant arts community, not-so-big city life. They want to be home owners, not renters, but they can’t find a house. Oh I know we have plenty of homes- too many homes in some neighborhoods. But for a certain type of buyer: young or creative or entertainment-seeking types who would be a perfect fit in the downtown area, Dayton doesn’t have what they are looking for because the housing stock that exists, is simply not a good fit for everyone. Downtown Dayton’s housing stock is plentiful, but it’s old, and the truth is that not everyone loves a historic home. Not everyone wants to live in or care for a historic home, and that’s okay, except, if you want a brick ranch, mid-century modern, vintage 20’s bungalow, or modern dwelling, then you have to live elsewhere. So the solution might be to mix things up a bit- not only tear down the unwanted housing stock, but build property that people want: Affordable, low maintenance, cool, hip, modern spaces that appeal to and attract a new breed of owners into the Dayton market.
I visited the Litehouse model home site last week during their Open House and was intrigued by what I saw. The exterior is modern and unlike anything else in the Dayton area. The interior is unusual as well, being a vertical stacked space that packs amenities onto a tiny physical footprint. This should appeal to a very specific buyer, but more than that, it’s going to add to the presence of residents in the direct downtown area, and that’s a cool thing, good for all the city residents.
The Litehouse townhomes focus on greener living, with local manufacturing, Leed standardization, Energy Star appliances to keep these homes as efficient as possible. This is going to be a growing trend and it’s nice to see a builder using proactive solutions for those buyers who are already looking in this direction. They are also looking to attract buyers who want an affordable home. This is going to be key for getting more buyers into Dayton: Affordable, modern, green properties that give buyers another downtown living option. The plan is to create a community of approximately 40 homes, and once a few more are occupied, you’ll see them attract more buyers- most people don’t want to be the first in a new development, although, you do get a nice view of Patterson Blvd right now.
These are sexy properties with a new attitude about how a home can function and what a home can be. Take a look at the couple to the right. Standing on the unfinished roof-top terrace of one of the Litehouse units, you can see the natural response to the possibilities this space might afford- the body language says it all. This is the type of housing that Dayton needs more of and it’s good for the entire Dayton area that we have the opportunity to watch this development add to our real estate options in Dayton Ohio.
So, how do you buy a new home? You can plunge ahead and contact the developer yourself if you’d like, or you can have a Realtor take you to a developer if you want a little extra guidance through the process. It’s similar to buying any home, except, as one developer told me, there is no other person’s dirt to wonder about.
The question is, can majestic historic beauties live in peace and camaraderie with ultra-modern clean cut lines? For all the talk about not wanting to live in little boxes that all look just the same, most people like a sense of continuity and similarity within their own neighborhood. With the Litehouse development, we can begin to integrate the new and old while we adjust to the future of Dayton real estate.
Photo credits: Teri Lussier