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Urban vs. Suburban rates of Growth
Old 08-10-2015, 06:49 AM   #1
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Urban vs. Suburban rates of Growth

I'm not an active real estate investor but I thought those of you who are might find this article/data valuable. Discusses trends in housing demand by urban vs. suburban. Raises questions about the conventional wisdom that people are returning to the cities. No smoking gun, but an interesting analysis that suggests more of a polarization. Fastest growing areas are actually to most suburban, followed by the most urban. The sort-of-suburbs have the slowest rate of growth.

Hope this is helpful to you.

No, Suburbs Aren't All the Same. The Suburbiest Ones Are Growing Fastest - CityLab

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Old 08-10-2015, 08:17 AM   #2
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Thanks for posting this. I will say, though, that few people with any kind of social radar would be surprised. What are the "more urban suburbs"? They are the older, more impoverished suburbs with a good dose of all the urban and racial social strife that is found in the big cities, especially the downscale areas of big cities.

It might come as a surprise to some, but middle class people who want to live in the city are not looking to get mugged or shot. They want museums, universities, easy access to many types of meetings, discussions, pastimes and access to well behaved people who are into ideas. Add ethnic food to the list, which in most cases means Mexican, Indian, and all the attractive food that can be offered cheaply by restauranteurs from immigrant groups. None of these things are related except by geography and the history of American development and settlement in the post WW2 era to another known and not so sought after feature of urban life, more violent crime.

Many big cities that have for years been getting safer and safer have recently made a U-turn, and few who live in these cities are really happy about this, no matter what they might say for attribution. Enough movement in this direction and old Ha is heading across the lake to Bellevue.


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Old 08-10-2015, 09:25 AM   #3
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I think it can be boiled down to low crime areas are growing faster than higher crime areas.

Just as in the old days, healthy people left their insurance plans to go with a lower cost one, and the less-healthy people were stuck with the higher rates.

With a real estate twist, more affluent people leave the higher crime areas to go to a lower crime area. As a result, the less affluent are stuck and housing values plummet.

Clean up the crime, or spread it out across the entire metropolitan area, and the effect gets minimized.
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Old 08-10-2015, 09:42 AM   #4
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Thanks for posting, interesting to me. The (residential) return to cities was supposed to be driven by sky high fuel prices or even energy shortages (Chris Steiner, Richard Florida, Joel Kotkin), but fracking/horizontal drilling (and conservation to a much lesser extent) has changed all that, maybe for decades to come. With even semi-desirable urban areas already at high $ premiums, the theory never made (personal financial) sense to me, as urban real estate costs would go even higher - people already can't afford the nice urban neighborhoods in most cities. We'd love to live in a safe, walkable urban area, but there aren't any that appeal to us that we can realistically afford...
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Old 08-10-2015, 10:35 AM   #5
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While the article does offer some quantification of the situation, I'm guessing the trends have not changed a lot since the word "suburban" was invented. Folks want a place that is safe AND affordable. Typically, that means "moving out to the suburbs." With the advent of the car (two cars or more, really) we have the mobility and flexibility to live where we want to and still manage to get to w*rk. My bias is that the "return to the city" (think Yuppies, here) has more to do with being financially able to carve out a section of an otherwise "blighted" area and turn it into a safe place with all the amenities. All things being equal, I suppose many of us would prefer to live closer to the urban center (restaurants, theaters, etc. etc.) But it's not equal. There are either "blight" issues or cost issues (or both) to such a choice. YMMV
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