Another report pleading the smart growth case that people prefer living in dense urban cores rather than in the spacious suburbs which are therefore doomed—debunked very nicely by Joel Kotkin—is touted by the Sacramento Bee.
“Is Sacramento’s long-standing love of suburban living winding down? A blunt new analysis says yes, but some local builders say no way.
“The report released this week by the Urban Land Institute contends that Sacramento and other California metropolitan areas are about to discover they have an “oversupply” of classic subdivision housing, thanks to a sea change in what buyers want and can afford.
“Younger people are postponing homebuying, the report says, and when they do buy, more of them will opt for denser, urban-style housing, including small-lot homes, town houses and condominiums near transit, jobs, nightlife and other amenities. A higher percentage are likely to rent indefinitely because they cannot afford a home. At the same time, more baby boomers will seek buyers for their suburban spreads.
“If the ULI’s view holds true, some middle class neighborhoods already hit by recession and foreclosures could deteriorate further. One local planner says he fears an end result could be community blight.
“The study could also have significant implications for the thousands of new suburban homes that have either been approved or are awaiting approval in the Sacramento region, but haven’t been built yet. During the mid-2000s housing boom,Sacramento experienced enormous expansion in suburbs such as Elk Grove, Roseville, Lincoln and North Natomas….
“Dennis Rogers of the North State Building Industry Association called that message laughable.
“I reject flatly his assumption,”Rogers said.
“Rogers, who had not yet seen the report, said it sounds like the ULI is pushing an urban-infill agenda. He said builders are adding density and additional housing types to their developments, including those in the suburbs. But he said plenty of Sacramentans, including younger buyers with kids and people moving from the Bay Area, still want the traditional suburban lifestyle.
“While some baby boomers will downsize, he said, others will want to retire to a house with a bigger yard.”