After the housing bust, what’s next? Rental housing and the controversy that goes with it

[Personal Note] – the article below points out that the American Dream of home ownership was dealt a severe setback the “Great Recession” — and that rental housing is going to be more prevalent in the future.  With more rental housing will come more controversies with cities and homeowners who only want high-end for-sale homes

Beyond the double-dip U.S. housing recession, is there a future for the American home market? What I see emerging as growth magnets are established city enclaves and “new urbanist” communities that resemble old-style neighborhoods without the sprawl. They are close to public transportation, walkable and loaded with culture and amenities. They personify the new American dream.

Unfortunately, I also see the slow death of the “spurb,” a word I needed to coin for my book The Cul-de-Sac Syndrome to describe sprawling, car-addicted ex-urban areas far from central cities. While I think many inner suburbs will do fine and prosper, the next wave of real-estate growth favors vibrant cities and energy-efficient communities.

Before I eulogize the spurb, it’s time for a serious housing policy discussion. I agree with Edward Glaeser, Harvard economist and author of Triumph of the City, that the post-war government homeownership policy has over-subsidized suburban growth at the expense of cities. It’s outdated, wasteful and needs to change.

“Homeownership subsidies were a bribe to leave cities for the suburbs,” Glaeser told the Congress for the New Urbanism on June 3. “We need to rethink our fetish for suburban homeownership. It’s risk-enhancing, regressive and bad for the environment.”

More to the point: While suburban homeownership has been a linchpin of the American dream, it’s become an economic pit for millions.

Read more at Reuters



About Bob Voelker

Vice President and General Counsel, StreetLights Residential - Building Places that Life the Human Spirit.
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