HOA Management: The Five Most Significant Challenges Facing American Neighborhoods

AAM noticed these unsetting trends throughout its communities and decided to conduct a in-depth research study.  The new report unveiled a wealth of information board members must consider in their HOA management plans.

Challenge #1 Affecting HOA Management:  
The Traditional Stereotypes May No Longer Hold True

The days of the 1950s stereotypes of the American Dream seem a long way off.  According to the AAM study, today’s families still value home ownership.  In fact, the study found more than 70% of HOA homeowners surveyed believe the American Dream includes buying a home.

New York Times and CBS News poll conducted in June 2011 found similar results.  However, of the approximately 90% of those who said home ownership is still an important part of the American dream, nearly 25% said their home was underwater.  For many of these homeowners, the American Dream has turned into a nightmare.

Challenge #2 Affecting HOA Management:  
A More Diverse Population and Living Arrangements

Thanks to the devastating effects of the housing crisis, the suburbs have been hit harder economically than cities.  In a March 2012 study conducted by the New York Times and the Daily Beast, more than a million suburbanites nationwide are living below the poverty line compared to city dwellers. 

On a national level, other demographic dynamics affect communities.  For example, the U.S. marriage rate is at a record low.  The new norms include multi-cultural families, unwed parents, foster families, divorced adults, diverse unions, adoption with no marriage, marrying after a baby, single parents and multi-generational homes (U.S. Census; USA Today, 2012; Parents.com).

According to the AAM study findings, Arizona HOA communities represent a major exception.  Fortunately, these communities seem to have bucked many of the negative trends affecting families and home ownership.  Nearly two-thirds of neighbors surveyed indicated they live with a spouse.

Challenge #3 Affecting HOA Management:  
A Feeling of Greater Instability among Americans

As can be expected, the economy remains a top concern for most Americans.  An October 2011 Reason Rupe opinion poll found 47% of respondents ranked jobs and unemployment as their two main worries.  These findings were consistent with the AAM study.  Arizona homeowners are most anxious about the economy, family and finances.

Challenge #4 Affecting HOA Management:  
More Americans Have Become Distracted and Disconnected

Technology has improved life in many ways.  But, it also causes people to communicate more through gadgets than in person.  When face-to-face communication is minimized, people become increasingly disconnected.  And, when people are cut-off from each other, they are more likely to become dissatisfied with their lives.  An important finding in AAM’s studying indicated 67%  of Arizona respondents believe neighbors affect their happiness somewhat or a lot.

Challenge #5 Affecting HOA Management:  
Neighborhood Relationships are Struggling

A StateOfNeighbors.com study from July 27, 2011 found nationally only 25% of Americans know most or all of their neighbors' names.  In Arizona, nearly two-thirds of Arizona homeowners surveyed know some of their neighbors by name and only 25% know most neighbors by name. 

The AAM study concluded Arizona homeowners primarily expect their HOA board to keep their neighborhood clean, safe and financially solvent. But, they also would like their HOA to help increase positive interactions between neighbors.

To help promote the best possible HOA management, AAM’s research report highlights the challenges facing American neighborhoods.  The report sheds light on how HOA boards can overcome these difficulties.  The findings highlight what members must know to survive and even thrive in a complicated environment.  To download a copy of the report, visit http://www.associatedasset.com/homeowner-association-management/5-most-significant-challenges-facing-american-neighborhoods.

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