Housing & urban design - June 20
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Many more articles are available through the Energy Bulletin homepage
Gas prices latest worry for real estate market
Roger Vincent, Los Angeles Times
The financial burden of longer commutes makes homes in outlying areas that are already reeling even less attractive.
Rising gas prices may be the latest ailment afflicting the housing market, as figures released Monday showed Southern California home prices plunging 27% in May from a year ago and falling even more precipitously in distant suburbs.
Outlying areas like the Antelope Valley and the Inland Empire have long appealed to people who were willing to accept a burdensome commute for the chance to own a better house. But buyers are increasingly factoring gasoline costs into their purchase decisions, said Dan Griffith, a Rancho Cucamonga-based real estate agent.
... Price drops were especially steep in far-flung suburbs. The median price fell 38% in Lancaster and 42% in Palmdale, compared with 23% in Los Angeles County overall.
(17 June 2008)
Homes stuck on road to nowhere
Linton Besser, Sydney Morning Herald
THREE out of every 10 new households in Sydney to 2013 will be vulnerable to rising petrol prices because the State Government has failed to overturn car dependency in western suburbs, a university study has found.
Rising petrol and inflation costs are putting large areas of outer western Sydney at risk of social isolation, according to a report by Griffith University.
The study, Planned Household Risk: Mortgage and Oil Vulnerability in Australian Cities, found the divide between eastern and western Sydney was deepening when it comes to reliable and efficient public transport.
(16 June 2008)
Related human interest story at the SMH: They build a suburb, then find the buses don't fit.
The cost of free parking
Christian Seibert, The Australian
... Most off-street parking provided in our cities in accordance with minimum parking regulation is free, but it is a mistake to think that because drivers don't pay, nobody pays.
By requiring a development to provide a minimum amount of off-street parking, the cost of providing this parking is bundled into the cost of development. This then is passed on to the public through increases in the cost of all goods and services sold at sites that offer free parking.
This has various ill effects. First, so-called free parking distorts transport choices because by bundling the cost of parking into the prices of goods and services, the true cost of driving a car is hidden and it appears relatively cheaper to drive compared with walking, cycling or taking public transport.
(19 June 2008)