The good news in the Environmental Protection Agency's newly released report, "Residential Construction Trends in America's Metropolitan Regions: 2012 Edition" (PDF), is that "infill has become a significant portion of the U.S. housing market." In a press release accompanying the publication of the report, the EPA noted that, "[f]or example, eight out of ten new homes in San Jose, Calif. were infill. New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco all saw a majority of new home construction in previously developed areas during the same time period."
The bad news? That significant portion accounts for only 21 percent of new home construction, meaning the remaining 79 percent "was built on undeveloped land outside existing communities." Furthermore, finds the report, "[n]early all metropolitan regions are growing outward more than they are growing inward."
Why should we be building more infill? As the EPA notes, "this type of development provides economic and public health benefits to metropolitan areas while protecting the local environment...Infill housing has also been shown to help raise property values, increase a community’s tax base, and attract retail businesses to serve the larger residential population."