Kaid Benfield Archive


More on the decline of sprawl, from MSN

Kaid Benfield

Posted October 9, 2009 at 1:26PM

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  the boom may be over for new developments like these in suburban Atlanta (by: Andrew Bossi, creative commons license)

MSN.com has become the latest news outlet to confirm that the ever-outward suburban construction boom that defined US real estate virtually unchallenged for half a century has gone bust, and perhaps not just temporarily.  I've been documenting this story since early 2008 (starting here, actually).  The latest, a new article by Melinda Fuller of MSN Real Estate, gives us an update with a few new tidbits:

  • Arthur C. (Chris) Nelson's trend research says that we may have a surplus of as many as 25 million large-lot suburban homes by 2030.  Many of them will be converted to multifamily properties.
  • Aging baby boomers (cough) are likely to start selling off their large suburban homes at a rate of five percent per year between 2010 and 2030.
  • Some suburban homes that cannot be sold are already being converted into subsidized affordable housing.
  • The average European household spends only a third as much of their income on transportation as do American suburbanites.
  • The suburbs that survive will be the ones with walkable, mixed-use amenities. 
  • Suburban retrofits may be the next development frontier, but outdated policies and practices won't make it easy.
  • Prospective suburban homebuyers should look for signs that their target area is in decline before making the purchase.

Go here for the story.

Thanks to Melissa Bez for pointing me to this article.