To reduce or even eliminate sidewalk and curbside delivery, the U.S. Post Office has begun encouraging a new form of mass mail delivery. Nearly two-thirds of single-family builders report they have had a local post office request “cluster mailbox” installations for new developments. Cluster mailboxes serve a group of homes in a development and, often, the entire development, in one centralized location. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), noted cluster mailboxes are growing in prevalence particularly out west, where nearly all (95%) of builders had encountered these requirements.
Pro’s and Con’s of Cluster Mailboxes
While some homeowners may dislike the idea of having to walk to the front of their neighborhood to get their mail, these mailboxes do have some advantages for homeowners:
- They are more secure than traditional mailboxes
- The units tend to be more affordable for builders and homeowners, who are no longer responsible for individual mailbox upkeep and replacement (as they would be under most homeowners’ association covenants)
- They are less labor-intensive for developers, since one cluster mailbox can be mounted in the same time it would take to install eight to 16 traditional mailboxes. This could equate to savings of between 87% and 94%, speculated one manufacturer.
The U.S. Postal Service also benefits, since cluster mailboxes reduce the amount of time it takes to deliver mail to a subdivision.
What Does This Mean for Real Estate Investors?
In the short term, the main consideration about cluster mailboxes for real estate investors will be simply: Does my target market like or dislike this option? If western trends move eastward, they are likely to become a “given” for new construction. Given how many homeowners order online items for home delivery, it seems they could consider the cluster mailbox installation a benefit.