The Housing Chronicles Blog: Urban infill definitely a trend

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Urban infill definitely a trend

Prior to the housing downturn, a major shift in certain parts of the country was a greater focus on urban infill projects: condos, townhomes and small-lot subdivisions. According to a story in USAToday, some new stats from a government report bear this out.

I've written a few articles on this trend, including high-rise condos, transit-oriented developments and mixed-use projects.

From the story:

In more than half of the 50 most populous metropolitan areas, communities at the urban core have captured a significantly larger share of their region's new residential building permits since 2002 than in the first half of the 1990s, according to an analysis by the Environmental Protection Agency...

Long-standing patterns remain: A large share of residential construction still takes place on farmland on remote fringes of metro areas. In most regions, new housing in urban core neighborhoods accounts for less than half. Nonetheless, there was a consistent increase in housing in urban centers from 2002 to 2007, and the trend could transform growth patterns in some places for decades to come...

Changes in demographics, high gas prices and longer commutes on congested roads are generating more interest in smaller homes in urban settings...

• In 15 regions, the central city greatly increased its share of residential building permits. Those regions include large cities with strong ties to the global economy (New York, Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles) and medium cities that are leaders in controlling growth (Portland, Ore., Denver).

• In 26 cities, including Sacramento and Milwaukee, the share has doubled or tripled since 2000.

• Old suburbs on the edge of cities captured a significant chunk of new housing in eight metropolitan areas, including Boston, Minneapolis and Washington.

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