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Wednesday, January 11, 2012


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A really interesting piece appeared recently at Philly.com detailing the growing trend of people moving back to the urban core of their metropolitan areas, leaving the exurbs behind:
But five years after the market seized up, planners and economists aren't so sure, and they've begun to ponder a previously unthinkable notion: The heyday of the suburbs may be over.
A recent survey by the National Association of Realtors found that the majority of buyers - 56 percent - preferred houses located in traditional cities or in walkable suburbs that have good transit connections to downtown. The percentage is even higher among two influential groups, the retiring baby boomers and the mid-career millennials, who are now in their 20s and 30s. Surveys tend to be suspect, sale prices are not. When Leinberger analyzed sales data in different markets, it showed that single-family houses in outer-ring suburbs - like Oakcrest - are hemorrhaging value. Many now sell for less than their replacement cost. In contrast, urban housing has generally held its value during the bust. The priciest housing on the market can be found in cities and commuter suburbs, suggesting people really do prefer to live in those neighborhoods.
"The word suburb has lost its meaning," acknowledges Alan Berube, a fellow at the Brookings Institution. The real competition, he suggests, is no longer between cities and suburbs, but between places that have density and good transit connections and those that don't. By that definition, North Philadelphia could be well-placed for a comeback, but the city's suburbanized Northeast may struggle. The success of Collingswood has everything to do with the proximity of PATCO trains and its small house lots.
Read the whole thing here.
As a Covingtonian, you have chosen to live in an urban area. As residents of the outer communities consider new places to live, how would you sell them on Covington? Keep in mind, as the article suggests, the term "suburban" does not mean what it used to, and cities like Florence which are away from the urban core, can still be accessible and attractive to new homebuyers. How would you sell Covington when competing with our friends in Florence?

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