It’s becoming progressively more clear that the quintessentially American tendency to construct sprawling, car-centric communities is coming to a screeching halt. Part of the blame lies with the ongoing crises with mortgage institutions, which has repercussions on the housing market nationwide.
However, it’s the unsustainable sprawl that’s the hardest hit. Here are the comments of Sandler O’Neill & Partners analyst Aaron Deer, as reported by the LA Times:
"At several properties, there were a significant number of fully built homes sitting vacant along with a large number of additional homes still under construction," Sandler O’Neill & Partners analyst Aaron Deer wrote today after touring developments in Corona and Ontario. "At one master plan community, the entire development appeared to be vacant — with the exception of crews working on new construction, it was a ghost town."
More from Deer’s note: "The homes all appeared to be empty, and there were no prospective buyers anywhere to be found. Surprisingly, the sales office was open … but the woman working there had questionable English fluency. When asked how many homes had been sold in the past month she simply responded, ‘Uh huh. Thank you. Yes!’ and handed us some additional literature on the property."
Median home prices dropped from $565,000 to $375,000 in the course of just one year in Corona and Ontario. Meanwhile, in dense, urban environments like western LA and San Francisco, the prices have remained stable. One key difference is the amount of driving required by the different locations. If improved health due to greater activity, fewer per capita greenhouse gas emissions, and less isolated communities weren’t enough to persuade people to leave their cul-de-sacs, current gas prices are making sprawling communities even less desirable and encouraging people to live where walking, biking, and mass transit are viable transportation solutions.
- Unsustainable Sprawl Hit Hardest by Sub-Prime Foreclosures
- LA’s New Trains: Taking Back Sprawl Land?
- Obama Plans to Fight Sprawl, Support Peds As President