By Jodi Summers
The light rail will keep Los Angelesâ€™ multiunit real estate economy strong. The conclusions from a barrage of studies, polls, tests, reports, from such noteworthy sources as the Urban Land Institute and Coldwell Banker Real Estate, among others have determined that residences near cities with thriving economies and mass transit are the housing trend of the near future.
â€œThere are deep expectations among Americans that this volatility [in fuel prices] will continue,â€ shares David Goldberg, communications director for Smart Growth America. â€œCombine that with an aging population and a drop in household size, and all signs point to a desire for more convenient locations with transportation options.â€
The Coldwell Banker survey reveals that 81% of respondents said a desire to reduce gas spending was a factor in moving to a more convenient neighborhood, and 93% agreed or strongly agreed that the desire for shorter commutes was a factor.
Other reasons noted for the increased enthusiasm for city living where "having everything at your fingertips" (91% strongly agreed or disagreed), "being able to walk to places" (76%), and "being near public transportation" (52%).
â€œItâ€™s sort of the perfect storm right now of improving transportation, appropriate housing policy . . . and a large amount of rental housing demand,â€ Â notes Toby S. Bozzuto, president of Bozzuto Development.
These changing preferences are revitalizing the downtown L.A. loft district. Â After idling during the recession, there has been an increased demand for apartments + condos in the downtown loft market which can free residents from car dependence.
Another attribute in the trend toward reverse migration are the tastes baby boomers and echo boomers â€“ who are driving housing preferences. Additional factors weighing heavily on the shape and location of housing include increased immigration, smaller households, concerns over energy usage and climate change, and downsized consumer expectations in the wake of the current recession.
â€œâ€¦What youâ€™re seeing now is the result of pent-up demand for mixed-use, urban housing near jobs, and transit. The market pendulum is swinging from drivable suburbanism to walkable urbanism,â€ observes Ed McMahon, a specialist on sustainable development at the Urban Land Institute.
The suburbs will continue to be desirable to families in search of better school districts and child-friendly environments. But the mortgage crisis, high car-related costs and increasing property taxes mean moving to the suburbs requires greater sacrifices for adults.