Zillow: Suburbs Becoming More Like Cities

According to the real estate website, urban home values are growing faster than those in the suburbs, bucking a longtime trend. This isn't exactly surprising, but it has serious social justice implications.
February 17, 2016, 11am PST | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Quadrangle Architects

Current demographic trends have well-off households returning, at long last, to urban centers across the nation. Marc Stiles writes, "The result, according to Zillow, is suburbs will change to become more like cities to attract residents. This already is happening in Seattle suburbs, such as Burien, Bothell and Redmond, whose downtowns are adding residential units and urban amenities."

It can be safely said that the era of white flight—or wealth flight at least—from the cities has come to a close. "Nationally, suburban home values grew 5.9 percent in 2015, while urban homes gained 7.5 percent in value. In 1997, urban home values grew at 3.8 percent – slower than suburban values, which grew 4.1 percent that year."

If suburbs do not court density and employment corridors, as Zillow indicates they must, their eventual lower-income residents may be doubly handicapped. "Zillow has found that in San Francisco and Seattle, high-income people now have shorter commutes to downtown, while low-income folks are traveling much farther to get to downtown jobs."

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Published on Tuesday, February 2, 2016 in Puget Sound Business Journal
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