Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Memphis #1 in Affordable Housing

Anyone living in our community knows that one of its many attractions is the value of its real estate market. Despite the burst of the mortgage bubble, the cost of a decent house in the major Orthodox communities of the New York / New Jersey area remains well out of reach for many young families. New York transplant communities in South Florida are not far behind. In LA and other big cities on the West Coast, things are even worse. Even in the growing Orthodox communities of the South and Midwest, housing prices don't compare to those of Memphis. We all know it - but now we have the data to prove it. According to Money Magazine and, a study conducted by an organization called OnBoard asked real estate buyers in major metro areas across the country to determine how far their income gets them in their local real estate market. The city which they determined gets the most house for their money was none other than our own Memphis, TN. Have a look at the list and then pass it on to everyone you know who doesn't yet live in the most affordable housing market in America.


Anonymous said...

While I appreciate that Memphis as a whole has some of the most affordable housing prices in the nation (half of all homes are valued under $79,000 according to the list), I wonder if the homes inside the Orthodox community would rank number one of a similar list of Orthodox neighborhoods around the US. Our neighborhood homes seem to start at around $225,000, average about $300,000, and top out at well over half a million dollars (my unscientific estimation). How does this compare to other Eruvs around the country?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for raising the question regarding whether the ranking accurately reflects the housing prices within the Memphis Orthodox community. While I confess at the outset that I am neither a real estate broker nor a social scientist, I wanted to share with you some information that I think may in and of itself directly address your query.

As I believe we would all agree that the neighborhood homes within the Memphis Orthodox community are significantly less expensive than those in their New York/New Jersey, Chicago, and Los Angeles counterparts, I will focus my comparison of the Memphis Orthodox community with smaller, similarly situated communities across the United States.

This past Sunday (March 31, 2008) Yeshiva University held a “Community Growth Initiative Conference” wherein eight cities were invited to present their communities to young families contemplating relocation out of the New York/New Jersey area.

As part of the exercise, prior to our arrival, each city was asked to submit a “Community Profile” in which questions relating to local economic trends, the presence and vibrancy of local Jewish Agencies, and the cost of housing in the orthodox community were solicited.

The following is a listing of the answers each city offered relating to the cost of housing in each’s respective Orthodox community:

Columbus, OH - $90,000.00 - $450,000.00 (Avg - $270,000.00); Dallas, TX - $300,000.00 – 1.5 Million(Avg - $900,000.00); Fair Lawn, NJ - $400,000.00 - $850,000.00(Avg - $625,000.00); Houston, TX - $200,000.00 – 1 Million (Avg - $600,000.00); Linden, NJ - Starter Homes beginning at $300,000.00; Oceanside, NY - Not provided; and Phoenix, AZ - $250,000.00 – 1.5 Million(Avg - $875,000.00).

Based upon these price ranges and the correlated average (which again, were provided in an effort to entice young families to consider the city as a relocation alternative), Memphis ranks in the top two - the only other community being even remotely competitive in terms of housing costs being Columbus, OH; however, having family who lives in Columbus and having visited them there annually for the past 20 years, I have found that the houses falling within the $90,000.00 - $450,000.00 are largely located in the Berwick neighborhood, are considerably smaller and older than those in Memphis, and almost universally require substantial renovations upon move-in. The homes more similar to those in the Memphis Orthodox community are located in the Bexley neighborhood and range from $375,000.00 – 1.5 Million.

It would therefore appear that although the homes within the Memphis Orthodox community do indeed exceed the average cost per house reflected in the ranking, so do houses in every orthodox market across the country. The Memphis orthodox community still offers the most house for the money.

In Memphis we are truly blessed with an orthodox community that provides our families with a superior quality of life without having to sacrifice an excellent Jewish education or a vibrant religious social life. We should be very proud.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for a detailed response. Based on the communities mentioned it seems that we do, indeed, have a comparably affordable community. Of course our community is wonderful for many different reasons.