Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Home prices - urban vs. suburban

Via Yglesias, an article that gives me the data I wanted on how urban environments have fared compared to suburban environments in home values:
Nationwide, home prices in neighborhoods with long commutes and no public transportation are falling faster than prices in communities closer to cities, according to a study by Joseph Cortright, an economist at Impresa Consulting. For example, his study found that prices in distant suburbs of Tampa fell 14 percent in the last 12 months, versus a 9 percent drop in areas nearer the city.
So we are beginning to see that inner city real estate prices are more stable than suburan prices. American cities are beginning to act economically like other cities around the world, at least just a little bit. This leads me to think about affordable housing near city cores, but that is another post (many other posts, in fact).

Yglesias also makes the point that the level of density required to support transit and a true urban environment is not as "dense" as folks think:
I never thought of Cambridge as a particularly high-density place -- it's certainly not dominated by skyscrapers or large apartment towers or anything of the sort. But it turns out to have over 15,700 residents per square mile.
"Density" doesn't mean high-rises necessarily. In fact, high rises can limit the urban environment in my opinion. 500 new units in one high rise does not create the same urban environment as 500 units in three or four mid-rise buildings. For all the density that has gone into Midtown and Buckhead lately, there are still considerable gaps in the urban environment.

Now, of course land prices are a major factor which require high-rise buildings in these areas. But I'm just making the point that "density" can be quaint and have a neighborhood scale, and be just as (if not more-so) beneficial for creating the kind of urban environments our cities need to be to function as complete societies in the coming world.

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