Reston is a great place with lots of jobs and plenty of shopping, and it is conveniently located to just about everything except reasonable priced housing.
Every area has its threshold of housing prices. In some places you have to be an executive to afford a home, in others teachers can buy homes. It all depends on the area, the density of housing, the cost of land, the price of labor and a number of other factors.
We have all been through a roller coaster ride on housing prices. When my daughter bought her townhouse in Reston, she had to race other buyers to the good properties. Today things have changed, but housing is still pretty expensive in Reston.
Here on the coast, you can buy a new three bedroom, two bath home with 1,600 square feet for under $170,000 and still be less than fifteen minutes from the beach. If you can deal with a smaller home built a few years ago, you can get a home for $160,000 or under. A new home like the one pictured in the post in a gated community like Bluewater Cove where I live will cost you something over $300,000 but less than $400,000 unless you want to be on the water.
All those prices look pretty cheap compared to what it costs to buy a single family home in Reston. The big difference is jobs. Jobs are scarce on the coast of North Carolina, but the cost of living including property taxes is also very attractive to most people including retirees.
We end up with lots of small business owners, people who cannot live without the ocean, and some people who enjoy our warm climate no matter what their age.
Every time I write about the Crystal Coast on the blog Crystal Coast Living, I think about how different our area is from places like Reston. We might have half a dozen traffic jams a year lasting a few minutes when everyone tries to check into their rental properties at the same time on the fourth of July weekend and a few other popular weekends.
Other than that there are lots of differences besides housing prices. It should not come as a surprise that we have lots of space since we have a 158,000 acre National Forest on one side and miles and miles of an undeveloped National Seashore on the other side.
Because of all the space and fewer people, it gets dark here at night. There is no glow, and you can see the stars in the skies. We also still have old fashioned events like a covered dinner supper at church. It is not a stretch to think that by November all the new waitresses who came in during the summer will know you. The old ones never forgot you.
As I remember those days creeping along the toll road to Tyson's early in the morning, I wonder why you cannot have the jobs of a Reston in a place where people can afford to live. I still remember my area associate when I was director of federal sales for Apple. She had to drive an hour and forty five minutes morning and night in order to get to an area where she could afford a home. She would have been very well paid by standards down here.
It is a stretch to think that lots of Reston style jobs will ever make it to the North Carolina coast. However, the loss falls more on the companies who fail to understand how much more productive people can be when they do not spend half their lives commuting.
Those of us who manage to scrape by down here have a lot of fun, and the air we breath is first rate. The sky is blue and the clouds are white. When our feet need some work, we just go for a walk on the beach.
It is a good life even without fancy jobs. I can even handle the mowing job for my yard without too many complaints.