Typically, arguments for leading a less car-dependent lifestyle are couched in environmental terms—Love Your Mother, lower your carbon footprint, that sort of thing. But is it also financially savvy to forego the car in favor of your feet or transit? That's what a recent study sponsored by the Natural Resource Defense Council discovered.
According to the findings, sprawling communities where the only transportation option is the private automobile have statistically higher foreclosure rates than neighborhoods with an array of transit options including public transit, biking, or simply walking. The reason is simple. Transportation costs account for 17 percent of pre-tax income for the average American household. But, when you break it down a little bit more, the typical suburban household spends almost 25 percent on transportation (and 94 percent of that amount is spent to own, maintain and fuel the fleet of cars that comes with every suburban household). By comparison, households in walkable urban neighborhoods shell out a mere 9 percent of their income for transportation. "If your only choice is to drive, you have much less economic flexibility, flexibility that can protect you from foreclosure in tough times," says Jennifer Henry with NRDC.
Now, I'm not saying you should get rid of your car entirely—this is America, after all. I own one, too: A beat up, but reliable, old Toyota that I put maybe 6,000 miles on last year. And, since I only drive about half the national average, I saved about 500 bucks last year on fuel alone.
What to do with the money you save? Well, you could buy a nicer house. This one on Fairmont, for instance, proves you don't have to live in a downtown condo in order to skip driving everywhere. KAT's #22 route is a block away—and offers late as well as weekend service. You can also walk to perennial favorites like Harby's Pizza, Senor Taco, Vic & Bill's, the Knox County Public Library's North Branch, or even to Fountain Lanes and bowl a few frames.
Not that you'd necessarily want to leave home in the first place. From the lush landscaping, stucco walls, and ceramic tile roof outside to the hardwood floors, original solid wood doors, and fireplace inside it's been fully restored and nicely updated. The fenced back yard also features a partially covered patio and outdoor kitchen complete with a 42" stainless steel Kitchen Aid gas grill.
And, should you need it, there's even an attached two-car garage. m
1600 Fairmont Blvd.
2,400 sq ft (approx.)
3 bdrm/2 bath
Contact: Constantine Christodoulou