Over the past two weeks, I have had three separate buyer clients who have decided not to pursue a home (or homes) in a particular neighborhood or town because of the distance it would put them from their place of employment.  All three work in Harrisonburg, and have decided to primarily look at properties located in the City.

These buyer were considering homes in towns roughly 20 miles away, which (if we only examine gas costs, and their work commute to Harrisonburg) would equate to roughly $2,000 of extra fuel costs per year.  (20 miles, 20 mpg, 2 trips/day, 5 days/week, 50 weeks/year, $4/gallon)

This wouldn’t include other increased costs such as:

  • fuel costs for other trips (entertainment, recreation, church, etc)
  • increased auto maintenance costs
  • changes in quality of life based on a longer commute

To put $2k/year in perspective — if these fuel savings were instead used to allow the buyers to afford a larger home, they could increase their loan amount by $26,000! (30 year fixed, 6.5%).

Are others seeing these same sort of fuel-based buying decisions in your parts of the Commonwealth?