One of the issues that will be growing in importance over the next years will be the cost of commuting. In the past, its not been something that most buyers considered as a major concern, but $4 or even $5 gasoline will add significantly to a monthly expenditure and will have to be taken into consideration when a family is moving up or out.
I haven’t seen anyone really talk about the potential for a radical re-shaping of American society and the physical landscape, but imagine an America where the fringe suburbs de-populate as people are forced by their pocketbook to move back closer into the cities that provide their basic employment and social infrastructure. The homebuilders will either see the changes and adjust to rebuilding older city neighborhoods, or focus only on the upper-income segment who can still afford to commute in their Hummers and Expeditions to their gated, golf-oriented communities. In this scenario, a city like Baltimore with significant opportunity for redevelopment inside the city limits can truly prosper, but only with a significant investment in public transportation.
This is also an opportunity to plug a function of charmcityrealestate.com — a cost of commuting calculator that helps factor commuting cost into the purchase decision between two properties. I invite you to play with it, see how it works, and how surprising the comparison now is when driving is factored in. Welcome to a new America.