Monday, September 05, 2011

A response to The Appraisal: Is Co-op Living Worth the Hassle?

The post: The Appraisal: Is Co-op Living Worth the Hassle?:

We live in a condominium, not a co-op, the difference being a condo is generally easier to buy and sublet than in co-ops, albeit a higher cost with lower maintenance. That said, we do have issues with the horrible state of some of our fellow residents' windows; as a condominium, the building does not enforce standards common to co-ops. As for the benefits, typically common to condominium and co-op, we have staff covering doors, the grounds - the condominium has a block-size green area with playground - and maintenance, along with on-site services for packages and dry cleaning.

As to #1's criticism, my feeling is that he is correct, but with further thought, it is equivocal. Living in the city, I have a minimal commute, 20 minutes each way, unlike those in the suburbs. As mentioned, we are provided numerous services at low cost, allowing me to avoid the suburban drudgery of home maintenance. We actually enjoy having less space, and that combined with the city's 'walkability', means that our carbon footprint is very small; New Yorkers are very 'green'. We do not need a car, so we do not have the expenses and drudgery associated with maintaining one, nor the car's exhaust; we rent when needed. Many of the benefits of city-based condo/co-op living become less expensive as one moves to Brooklyn or Jersey City, although in some ways less desirable; New York is loved for its vibrancy, its diversity, and its arts.

As for agreeing with #1, long-term home value probably increases slightly faster in the cities, although ownership itself is not necessarily a good financial choice. Neither choice of location makes much sense, except if you are smart enough to buy on the down-cycle and sell before the market inevitably crashes. Either way, tying up hundred's of thousands of dollars in a home is not the best use of the money, and New York's high cost only means an even larger amount tied up in an investment that simply matches inflation.

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