Next year’s influential Emerging Trends in Real Estate Report from PwC and the Urban Land Institute emphasizes that “overcoming isolation is becoming increasingly imperative” in the real estate market. In the workplace, this change presents open office designs and technology to connect remote workers. But how does it look in the housing market?

Twenty years ago, downtowns across the U.S. were revived with a “live/work/play” formula: dense, mixed-use development brought personal, business and recreational needs in close proximity. Except not everyone wants to live in a city. Around the same time, architect Ross Chapin developed the first “pocket neighborhood” in suburban Seattle.

Designed to bring people closer than traditional neighborhood blocks, these developments are built around common green spaces like ponds and parks. Well-placed windows and skilled landscaping maintain your privacy while proximity to your neighbors creates relationships that take place easily in the course of daily life.

The Porches in Kennebunk is a prime example of a pocket neighborhood in Southern Maine. Woven into the tight, social fabric of Kennebunk, this pocket is one of the best kept secrets in the area. Thirty homes wrap around a common green. A communal patio and fire pit are tucked into the surrounding woods. Coffee shops, bakeries, grocers and shopping are just a half-mile, sidewalk stroll away at the south end of Main St.

This time of year, Kennebunk starts to glow with holiday spirit. Ice skating just started at the Warehouse Center and Christmas Prelude brings summer-sized crowds to shop and enjoy the lights. May Day kicks off the return of warm days, while the weekly Artisan’s Marketplace and free concerts happen all summer long—enjoy them when you’re not at the wonderfully close by beaches.

By the way, the Portland-metro area was singled out in Emerging Trends in Real Estate as a “boutique market” and “thrifty choice.” If you’re thinking of buying a home in Southern Maine, there is no better time than now. Make a plan to visit an open house every Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. until Dec. 8. and explore the warm, welcoming Kennebunk community. Learn more at theporchesme.net.

Homes at The Porches begin at $379,900. They are listed by the Bassett Team at Kennebunk Beach Realty. Please contact Becky Bassett at 207-251-1995 or Grainne Archer at 207-450-5171 and at [email protected].