Is sprawl set to return?

As the recession clears, sprawl is set to make a comeback in the housing market, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing findings coming from the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies annual State of the Nation’s Housing report released yesterday.

Household growth in the 2000s was primarily concentrated outside of cities. While city cores took 21 percent of growth during this period, suburb growth accounted for 38 percent and the more distant exurbs for 41 percent. This growth was mainly fueled by prices, the Journal said, and it is likely to continue. Recent studies have found that property prices increase as they get closer to walkable city centers

Another reason for the expected suburban growth lies in minorities buying homes outside of cities, the Journal wrote. The report showed that in 2010, a total of 47 percent of minority households lived in areas outside of cities, a six percent increase from 10 years before.

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As it currently stands, most undeveloped land lies outside of cities, which according to the study is why “there is every reason to believe that the exurbs will once again capture a disproportionate share of growth once residential construction activity resumes” — even as municipalities try to fight it.

As previously reported, the city teamed up with local governments in Suffolk, Nassau and Westchester counties to combat sprawl by building up housing and commercial spaces close to public transportation. The effort received a $3.5 million funding grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

As The Real Deal reported today, the study also found that the rental market is fueling the national housing recovery [WSJ]