Tuesday, June 24, 2008

No One Wants To Live In The City

It's too expensive.

As the realization takes hold that rising energy prices are less a momentary blip than a restructuring with lasting consequences, the high cost of fuel is threatening to slow the decades-old migration away from cities, while exacerbating the housing downturn by diminishing the appeal of larger homes set far from urban jobs.

In Atlanta, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Minneapolis, homes beyond the urban core have been falling in value faster than those within, according to analysis by Moody's Economy.com.

In Denver, housing prices in the urban core rose steadily from 2003 until late last year compared with previous years, before dipping nearly 5 percent in the past three months of last year, according to Economy.com. But house prices in the suburbs began falling earlier, in the middle of 2006, and then accelerated, dropping by 7 percent the past three months of the year.

Despite my own obvious preferences, people like the burbs. It's going to take more than the stick of high gas prices for there to be any kind of radical change. It's an opportunity for a place like Philadelphia, where there are still plenty of inexpensive places to live. But transportation needs to be improved, crime rates cut, schools improved, and city services generally need to be better. Now is the moment...