A housing boom?
Demand for one type of neighborhood is predicted to grow fast.
We’ve been looking at the long-term advantages of living where there are shops, schools, businesses, health clinics, residences all jumbled together. A “mixed-use neighborhood” planners call it.
Many of these advantages derive from the rising costs of energy, healthcare, and taxes forecast for this decade – the stuff I’ve been writing about. Others come from the retirement preferences of baby boomers.
- saving transportation costs as fuel prices rise
- walking and biking more as health costs rise
- commuting without traffic to nearby jobs
- getting to know more neighbors
- using nearby public transit for longer trips
- finding smaller homes, apartments, and yards
- enjoying libraries, art, music, theater close to home
Now I’m hearing about another factor: rising real estate values. Evidence of higher demand for homes in mixed-use, walkable/bikeable, transit-oriented neighborhoods is spotty and anecdotal at the moment. But there are many it-stands-to-reason predictions out there. There are plenty of developers touting the idea. And there are a range of different approaches to creating new neighborhoods, from turning an urban industrial area into a major commercial/residential community, to the “infill” of suburban sprawl, despite the drag of existing zoning.
If prices are going up, it seems I shouldn’t wait until the established mixed-use neighborhoods are bid out of my reach. But as an investor, I might do well to move somewhere that is redeveloping or infilling, where values should be going up as the uses begin to mix.