Tag: Real estate market

Diverse development helps neighborhoods in greater DC and beyond


Washington, DC’s Yards Park in the Capital Riverfront neighborhood. Photo via Flickr.

Office renters, apartment seekers and shoppers are all vital parts of creating a great, economically resilient neighborhood. What development strategies attract these people? As Christopher B. Leinberger’s new research explains, walkable streets and transit choices are increasingly important in Washington DC and across the country.

Leinberger, President of LOCUS and Research Professor at The George Washington University School of Business, sat down with the Washington Post recently to discuss his most recent research, “The WalkUP Wake-Up Call,” and the future of development in the Washington DC region.

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New research highlights rising demand for homes and businesses in walkable neighborhoods

A new report from The George Washington University’s Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis, in partnership with LOCUS: Responsible Real Estate Developers and Investors and ULI Washington, reveals how walkable urban places and projects will drive tomorrow’s real estate industry and the U.S. economy, and outlines what actions are needed to take advantage of these market trends.

The report was released at an event yesterday in Washington, DC. Governor Parris Glendening, President of Smart Growth America’s Leadership Institute, gave the kickoff keynote of the day-long event. Glendening discussed the megatrends shaping the real estate market today, including changing demographics, new demand among consumers and emerging economic factors. These trends are all influencing the real estate market, Glendening explained, and are shaping how developers think about the built environment and economic development.

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Walkable neighborhoods now the most coveted in real estate


Washington, DC’s Foggy Bottom neighborhood was one of those included in a new study from the Brookings Institution. Photo by Flickr user Dewita Soeharjono.

The most valuable real estate today is in walkable urban locations – and that’s a stark change from only a decade ago.

That is one of the principal findings of a new report from the Brookings Institution. Walk this Way:The Economic Promise of Walkable Places in Metropolitan Washington, D.C. is an economic analysis of the neighborhoods in and surrounding our nation’s capital.

“Emerging evidence points to a preference for mixed-use, compact, amenity-rich, transit-accessible neighborhoods or walkable places,” the report explains, noting that consumer preferences have shifted and that demand for walkable housing is outpacing supply, thus contributing to higher property values.

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Walkable communities in demand, will lead housing market recovery new report finds

The U.S. housing market has begun to recover, and homes with amenities within walking distance will be those most in demand in coming years, according to a new report from the Demand Institute, a division of the U.S. Conference Board.

The Shifting Nature of U.S. Housing Demand, released May 15, examines the state of the U.S. housing market and the new trends emerging as real estate prices begin to recover from the recession.

Notably, the report predicts that areas with homes within walking distance of amenities and public transportation will recover more quickly and more strongly than those without these features. The report authors refer to these communities as “Resilient Walkables”:

About 15 percent of the population lives in this segment, which comprises populous urban or semi-urban communities well served by local amenities. House prices here fell by less than the national average between 2006 and 2011, in some cases by much less. The same is true of local employment…These localities will be the first to recover. We expect house prices here to rise by an average of 3 percent in 2013, and by up to 5 percent a year between 2014 and 2017.


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LOCUS President Chris Leinberger delivers keynote address at New Jersey Redevelopment Forum


A NJ Transit light rail train passes along Essex Street in Bayonne, NJ. Photo by Flickr user Flodigrip’s world.

In March, LOCUS President Chris Leinberger delivered the keynote address at the New Jersey Redevelopment Forum, an event hosted by Smart Growth America’s coalition partner New Jersey Future. The following is crossposted from New Jersey Future’s blog Future Facts.

Many in the luncheon crowd at New Jersey Future’s seventh-annual Redevelopment Forum were still digesting their cold cuts and salads when keynote speaker Leinberger stepped to the microphone and delivered an opening shot to their state’s midsection:

“New Jersey is the poster child for sprawl.”

A renowned urbanist, president of LOCUS; Responsible Real Estate Developers and Investors and visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution, Leinberger did not mince words when he described how New Jersey, like the rest of America, latched onto a drivable suburban lifestyle in the 1950s—and didn’t let go for the next half-century.

“Transportation drives development,” he noted. Modifying a well-known quote from Winston Churchill (“First we shape our buildings, thereafter they shape us”), he said, “We first build our transportation system, and then it molds our metro regions.” Investment in highways leads to drivable suburban development, he explained, while investment in rail, bus, bike lanes and sidewalks leads to walkable urban development.

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Smart growth presents opportunities for homebuilders in a struggling housing market


North 14th St. at Crown Square in Old North St. Louis, part of the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group‘s revitalization work in the city. Photo by Old North St. Louis via Flickr.

Rising demand for smart growth development might be a key strategy for turning around the housing industry.

Speaking to Builder magazine earlier this month, Smart Growth America Vice President Ilana Preuss explained that strong demand for walkable neighborhoods is an opportunity home builders can take advantage of.

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Walkable neighborhoods gaining popularity – even in the suburbs

Crossposted from the Huffington Post.

Last week, my colleague Chris Leinberger wrote a provocative op-ed in the New York Times titled “The Death of the Fringe Suburb.” Leinberger, who is president of LOCUS: Responsible Real Estate Developers and Investors, which is a project of Smart Growth America, highlighted the convergence of a number of factors in heralding the decline of far flung, auto-dependant exurbs. Rising gas prices, demographic changes, and shifting consumer preferences have all made these areas less attractive to homebuyers — a fact reflected in the financial troubles and foreclosure crises many of these communities face.

This gloomy portrait, however, is only the prelude to Leinberger’s discussion of an exciting new wave of demand for real estate. Today, the most valuable housing is in center city and inner suburb communities where shops, schools and homes are within walking distance of one another. More and more Americans want to live in these affordable and accessible neighborhoods — and the proof is in the prices of homes in these areas. Perhaps even more importantly, this type of development is where the knowledge economy thrives, helps support regional economies and promotes environmental sustainability.

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“The Death of the Fringe Suburb” and the next wave of real estate development

This past weekend, Christopher Leinberger wrote a provocative op-ed in the New York Times about why exurban America – which has been hard hit by foreclosures in recent years – won’t rebound, even if the economy does.

Leinberger, who is President of Smart Growth America’s project LOCUS: Responsible Real Estate Developers and Investors, went on to explain why the future is so dim for these places, and what Americans are looking for instead.

High home values and low vacancy rates in the country’s city centers and inner suburbs mean that Americans want to live in mixed-income, pedestrian-friendly areas that “support the knowledge economy, promote environmental sustainability and create jobs.” Outer fringe areas are failing to offer these features – and they will fail in the marketplace as a result.

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Smart growth news – June 23, 2011

The City and Bikes: Rubber Meets Road
Wall Street Journal, June 22, 2011
Spring was a little shrill and embarrassing. There were crazed media furies about bike lanes, non-stop reports of police crackdowns, hyperbolic worries that the city was transforming into an effete Euro village. If we didn’t defend our streets, the cyclists would overtake Manhattan. Mayor Bloomberg and Department of Transportation commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan would open a leg-shaving station in Union Square…But then a funny thing occurred. It got warmer, more people started riding, and the mania was eclipsed by reality.

Five Smart Growth Projects Receive $1.5 Million in Aid
Boston Globe, June 23, 2011
Five development projects seen as promoting dense urban development oriented around mass transit have been chosen by the Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance to receive $1.5 million in aid.

Carroll officials take stand on growth, transit, immigration
Baltimore Sun, June 22, 2011
Public prayer is just one of the issues that is defining this five-member, all-Republican board, all but one a newcomer to governance. They were swept into office on the tea party wave last year after a campaign that emphasized property rights and an opposition to many environmental initiatives, affordable housing and public transportation in a county where more than half the workforce commutes to jobs outside its borders. “We don’t want subways or metro buses,” said Richard Rothschild, one of the new commissioners. “They are conduits for crime. That’s not politically correct, but it is factually substantiated.”

Is a housing construction boom coming?
The Atlantic, June 22, 2011
You might think the question posed in the headline above sounds crazy. Aren’t foreclosures very high and thousands of distressed properties hitting the market each day? Didn’t residential construction go bonkers during the housing bubble in an epic overbuilding binge? The answers to these questions are: sort of, but it’s complicated. After the bubble popped, home construction fell to historic lows and stayed there. As a result, we may be on the verge a housing shortage in the U.S., which would actually be very good news for the economic recovery.

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