A new reports says high gas prices have contributed to falling house prices in the nation's suburbs.
"First it was the faltering economy. Then came rising commodity prices.
Can steadily increasing gas prices also be blamed for bursting the housing bubble?
Yes, says Portland economist Joe Cortright of Impresa Inc. "The gas price spike popped the housing bubble," he writes in a new report called "Driven to the Brink."
The report, funded by CEOs for Cities, a pro-urban Chicago-based nonprofit, advances an argument gaining steam in national urban planning circles: Rising gas prices have made it less attractive to live in suburban neighborhoods that require driving to work, shop and fun.
In metro areas where home prices are falling, they're falling more steeply in suburbs than in central areas. In metro areas with strong inner city neighborhoods -- like Portland -- prices of centrally located homes continue to rise while the region's prices fall.
That observation also came up during an Urban Land Institute presentation Tuesday in Washington, D.C., on infrastructure investment.
But economists disagree about the role gas prices may have played in the housing downturn. Most say the mortgage lending crunch, overbuilding by homebuilders and speculation by investors played larger roles."