Suburbia forecast unfolding before our eyes
James Howard Kunstler, speaking two weeks ago at the Agora Financial Investment Symposium:
The "project of suburbia" is over as a period in our history and the home builders are going down and they will not be coming back.
Supporting evidence this week in the Washington Post:
More Americans, 52 percent, live in the suburbs than anywhere else. The suburban growth rate exceeded 90 percent in the past decade. But there's been a radical shift in recent months. Americans drove 9.6 billion fewer highway miles in May than a year earlier. In the Washington area and elsewhere, mass transit ridership is setting records. Last year, transit trips nationwide topped 10.3 billion, a 50-year high.
Home prices in the far suburbs, such as Prince William and Loudoun counties, have collapsed; those in the District and inner suburbs have stayed the same or increased. A recent survey of real estate agents by Coldwell Banker found an increased interest in urban living because of the high cost of commuting.
Brookings says transportation costs are now second only to housing as a percentage of the household budget, with food a distant third.
That's the sort of forward thinking you get from the Symposium. If you couldn't join us this year, you can do the next best thing and get audio recordings of all the speeches in the main hall — plus a special report spelling out the investment recommendations that came during the small-group sessions. This year, for the first time, we're making the audio available in both mp3 and CD format. So what are you waiting for?