Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Unraveling of the Suburban Fringe

For so long we built worthlessly, now we're finding out just how much worthless costs:

BusinessWeek: Most of the overbuilding during the housing bubble took place in outer-ring suburbs. They are also likely the places to be hit worst by the downturn

Leinberger says not all suburbs will suffer this fate. (Most cities have a wealthy band of suburbs, such as the Main Line outside Philadelphia, that are holding value.) Many of Washington, D.C.'s inner suburbs such as Bethesda, Md., and Arlington, Va., could be role models for other suburbs, he said. They are dense, walkable communities focused around public transportation. Leinberger, who is also a developer, said suburbs should start building mixed-use projects around suburban train stations. "

Walkable places are now the most expensive on a price-per-square-foot basis because there is a tremendous pent-up demand for them (20 years ago it was the cheapest housing in the region)," Leinberger said. "We've got a structural change taking place in this country. Gas prices are just accelerating the trend."