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Homeowners Are Staying Much Longer in Their Communities

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Bill Primavera
Bill Primavera

By Bill Primavera

As I write this piece, I am simultaneously preparing for the groundbreaking of a Lowe’s in my hometown of Yorktown Heights.  As the PR guy for the developer, I couldn’t be happier because having lived in Yorktown for over 40 years I have endured the eyesore of part of the property on which it will stand – with its abandoned motel and gas station – for all that time.

Yes, I am one of those homeowners who stays put in his community, loading the high end of the statistical curve that tells us that people are staying much longer in their homes and home towns than in previous years. In fact, median homeownership rose to eight and a half years in 2016, up from just three and a half years in 2008, according to Moody’s Analytics & First America Financial Corp. It’s the longest tenure since the data began being compiled in 2000.

Granted, some people enjoy the experience of moving around to new communities and homes. But, as for me, my longtime experience in one home and one community was similar to living in H. G. Wells’
“The Time Machine,” watching our community change and grow.  We stayed in the same place by choice, even though we had a number of opportunities to relocate for job opportunities.

My job now is to develop the guest list for the groundbreaking for Lowe’s. To do that, I’m combing through all the names on my iPhone, a massive list that originated in my earliest days in business in an old Rolodex and just kept growing. It was a major undertaking to input those names to my first smartphone, and when they were transferred to my first iPhone, the savvy guy at the Genius Bar told me that I had more contacts than any customer he had ever encountered. I think the number was over 6,000 at that time.

I acknowledge that I’m a bit anal retentive, but I’ve never let go of any of the contacts I’ve ever gathered through all the jobs and volunteer activities throughout my life. Going through those names was both a joyous and poignant experience.

For one thing, most of the retirees who lived on my street when I first moved here in my late twenties have since passed on. But it was fun to remember them and also the businesses that came and went over the years; the steakhouse at the Baldwin Shopping Center, the Bum Steer, offered a great cut of beef for $4.95. We went every Friday night.

As someone who has lived most of his adult life in the same town and the same house, I can attest to its having some very satisfying benefits. I’ve learned that owning a home is so much more than the square footage of one’s living space. The experience extends beyond the footprint to the property line, street, neighborhood, community, and most of all, to the people with whom we relate over a long period of time.

When we first moved to this area, my wife and I were the “kids” on the block and the majority of other residents were seniors, many of whom had bought their properties when they were unheated summer cottages. By the time we arrived here, the homes had been converted to year-round residences and slowly they began to change hands to younger couples.

Then, we watched as those small houses developed larger footprints, and in some cases, were demolished to make room for new construction.

Many neighbors have come and gone, but we remained constant, and by the time we were ready to downsize to a condo two and a half years ago, we were among the most long-term citizens on our street.

We had become the human time machines to the passing world, observing both subtle and seismic changes from the same perspective, relating to all of our neighbors and service providers as real people and friends, rather than the more anonymous existence we experienced in New York City.

When I’m walking down a main street in town and someone honks, waves and calls me by name, I feel embraced by my lifestyles choice.

Bill Primavera is a Realtor® associated with William Raveis Real Estate and Founder of Primavera Public Relations, Inc. ( His real estate site is, and his blog is To engage the services of The Home Guru to market your home for sale, call 914-522-2076.


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