From Mike McCurry’s “Talk of the Town” column in The Clarendon Courier, March 1, 2018
A life-sized stuffed bear looked rather lonely sitting slumped in the corner next to the master bedroom door. There had to be a story behind it, I thought to myself as I walked through the home. It wasn’t the only thing seemly sad and left behind. Lining up on the basement wall was an arcade of games – Pac-Man, Space Invaders and pinball machines galore, apparently unused for quite some time. The bedrooms displayed even more artifacts of a life that had been happily lived out – old trophies, wall posters and more toys. The home was like a time-capsule, sealed when the children left for college.
If this sounds painfully familiar to you, then you are most likely experiencing being an empty-nester. You are not alone however, because we seem to have plenty of this segment of population in Clarendon Hills these days. And if you haven’t noticed, many of your contemporaries are contemplating downsizing.
One of the questions I often hear is: why are there so many in this demographic selling their homes?
A brief look at history, and the modern-day downsizer might help us to understand it better.
In the early 1990’s, Clarendon Hills began seeing its greatest number of real estate transactions (especially new construction) taking place since the 1950’s boom. Larger families were moving into the community, primarily because they valued the local schools, and our lovely town. It was during this period that also brought about the teardown phenomenon that Hinsdale had already been experiencing. Land was reasonably inexpensive, and Clarendon Hills had large lots close to the downtown.
By 1995, there were 21 new construction permits issued from Village Hall. In 2002, that number had nearly tripled to 61. That trend continued until 2005, when the market started hitting the brakes. Many of the early builders like Lee Blaskovich, Mike Was, Regis Kenna, Bill Passero, and Dressler Builders were putting up a lot of the homes around town. They were building between 3,000-5,000 square-foot homes to help satisfy the needs of the modern-day family.
The rest is history.
The market came to a screeching halt in 2009, during which just nine new construction permits we’re requested. My guess is that many of these hopeful projects were put on hold and not started again until some time later. Fast forward to 2017, we had 11 new starts.
It shouldn’t be surprising, then, that we are seeing many of these homes that were constructed in 1990’s and 2000’s come onto the market today. The children have grown up and out of the home, and the parents don’t want the extra space or need the large tax bills anymore.
The good news is, the next generation of families is ready to take over. They want the space, but they also want the homes updated to 2018 standards. (We’ll save this thought for another column.)
Our homes hold a lot of memories and stories about our families’ past. Behind every stuffed animal or trophy, there have been celebrations, or tears to wipe away. I’m not suggesting that your home is like a museum (nor am I judging!), because my time will certainly come, when one day my children will also fly the coop. Enjoy this season of your lives.
Mike is a Clarendon Hills
resident; husband; Indian Princess; Indian Guide Dad; a Coach; an “old” football player and a real estate broker. Mike’s columns are usually crafted about the buzz in and around the area. It sometimes has a spin on real estate or cultural information, highlight a new business or announce school happenings. He might include a “get-to-know” about some of our interesting residents and even a little about history
. Whatever it is, it is sure to be about the “Talk of the Town”.