AIA: Demand for High-Density Development Is Down

For the first time in four years, a quarterly survey indicates “market saturation in urban areas.”

1 minute read

January 11, 2018, 12:00 PM PST

By Katharine Jose

Urban Infill

Paul Sableman / Flickr

According to the quarterly survey of residential design trends from the American Institute of Architects, “market saturation in urban areas—and the resulting shift of development back to suburban areas—has caused demand for some community features related to accessibility to level off.”

Community features related to accessibility include infill development, tear-downs, access to public transit, walkable neighborhoods and recreational opportunities; while the decrease in demand is small, it is remarkable, given that  “growing demands” for those features “have been a fixture of the AIA's third quarter report the past four years.”

The AIA’s findings are in line with the idea of “peak millennial” in American cities as members of a generation that once migrated towards cities are being priced out of dense urban areas, especially if they’re looking to buy homes.

Which isn’t to say that suburbs will look the same as they fill with millennials. "[H]omeowners still desire access to community amenities,” an AIA economist writes, even as “these results reflect a slowing of migration toward more dense neighborhoods.”

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