More data is coming out about the conditions of the housing markets in the United States. Business Insider is the latest, offering its list of the Top 10 Turnaround Housing Markets based on the increase in price between late 2011 and the end of 2012 for a median priced home. The percentage beside the city represents that change.
- Las Vegas 27.5%
- Seattle 24.0%
- Phoenix 21.8%
- Oakland 21.0%
- San Jose 20.8%
- Salt Lake City 20.5%
- Atlanta 18.9%
- Sacramento 17.9%
- Fresno 17.7%
- Tacoma 17.7%
What’s not determined is what is behind the price escalation. Is it a function of demand outpacing supply? Is it the impact of excessive regulation? More to come.continue reading
The Daily Mail reports that gridlock on Britain’s roads is costing families £500 a year in wasted time and fuel. $800 U.S. dollars. This represents a more comprehensive way to assessing costs than from previous studies, for it includes indirect costs from businesses passing along the costs to end-users. From the INRIX summary: “These costs are a result of the direct impact of traffic on drivers in terms of wasted time and fuel as well as indirect costs to U.K. households resulting from businesses passing these same costs on to consumers in the form of higher prices.”
Sounds like the Brits need to abandon their sprawling car-centric ways and adopt Smart Growth, right? Well, as ADC friend Phil Hayward says: “The UK under its Town and Country Planning system, after 60 years, has attained several targets that urban planning fads aim for. It has the highest urban densities of any western nations. It has the most compact urban form. It has very high petrol taxes and massive subsidies of commuter rail and subway systems.”
In other words, it exemplifies Smart Growth. Consequently, Great Britain also has the West’s “least affordable housing, in spite of the lowest land consumption per person; the west’s greatest social exclusion, particularly from home ownership, the west’s worst traffic congestion delays, the west’s longest trip-to-work times, and the west’s worst local air pollution.” (By contrast, the U.S. with much lower densities has the most affordable housing and much shorter trip-to-work times.continue reading
Just the other day, I was telling someone that it is noticeable that you see far more lawn ornaments in the lower density, suburban ring around cities than you do in the central city. This is due, in part, to the migration of families to the suburbs. Not many moms and dads want to raise kids in a tiny apartment above a Starbucks.
It’s also due to urban crime. The person I spoke to responded that she had once lived near Gainesville’s downtown and remembers having her Christmas decorations stolen. She has since moved to the rural outskirts of town. In St. Louis, police are warning homeowners that the presence of Christmas lawn ornaments makes them a target for crime.
In Chicago, thugs are choosing a different way to get into the holiday spirit. On Chicago’s rail transit Blue Line, a woman was assaulted by a man who had a stocking filled with … goodies … er, no, … coal … er, no, … how about poop? Yes, feces. A man attacked a woman with a sock full of feces.
“It was like the biggest degradation I’ve ever [experienced]. I wish he had just hit me,” the victim said.continue reading
With Obama re-elected, we can expect an even stronger push for Smart Growth from the feds. The U.S. Department of Transportation says there will be no slowing on sustainable communities. This will come primarily through the Livable Communities Act, which I previewed here. In short, this is a preference for mandates over markets and central planning over property rights. Spend lots of money on transit and, oh yeah, push much higher densities … all represented in clever soundbites and catchphrases … but also bringing the very things we don’t want.continue reading
Good article over at Democracy Journal: Manufactured Housing: The Homeowners No One Thinks Of
“Most of us don’t think much about the people who live in manufactured homes, and when the culture notices them, it usually does so with derision. But there is an interesting and important asset-building story playing out here. The United States is home to some 50,000 manufactured housing communities with an estimated 2.7 million families who own their homes but rent the land underneath them. This housing stock—both in parks and on owned single lots—represents the largest segment of unsubsidized affordable housing in the nation. Two-thirds of these homeowners are low income.”