March 10, 2008
"The next slums"

Fascinating piece in The Atlantic about the subprime mortgage crisis and its longterm effects on the inner cities and far-flung newer developments.

Arthur C. Nelson, director of the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech, has looked carefully at trends in American demographics, construction, house prices, and consumer preferences. In 2006, using recent consumer research, housing supply data, and population growth rates, he modeled future demand for various types of housing. The results were bracing: Nelson forecasts a likely surplus of 22 million large-lot homes (houses built on a sixth of an acre or more) by 2025--that's roughly 40 percent of the large-lot homes in existence today.

For 60 years, Americans have pushed steadily into the suburbs, transforming the landscape and (until recently) leaving cities behind. But today the pendulum is swinging back toward urban living, and there are many reasons to believe this swing will continue. As it does, many low-density suburbs and McMansion subdivisions, including some that are lovely and affluent today, may become what inner cities became in the 1960s and '70s--slums characterized by poverty, crime, and decay.

Link via TAPPED, which adds a few thoughts. I don't have anything to add to this right now, I just thought it was a provocative read and wanted to recommend it. Check it out.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on March 10, 2008 to National news

You could not have missed the Chronicle business page over the weekend, which showed the foreclosure map. All of the worst foreclosure areas in a belt or ring outside of Beltway 8.

Living without any debts is king. My mortgage is paid off in 88 months. No way am I ever going to get myself underwater. Of course, that doesn't help if my neighbors are all underwater, but I don't think that will happen. This is a pretty steady neighborhood we live in at present. At present. At present.

Posted by: Peter on March 10, 2008 6:54 AM

Houston, being a port city, energy hub and other things, was not as rife with speculators as some locations cited and will continue to grow over the long term.

Posted by: Charles Hixon on March 10, 2008 1:53 PM