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Old 02-19-2014, 07:33 PM
2,941 posts, read 3,862,208 times
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Originally Posted by memph View Post
In the case of Chicago, the housing wouldn't have to be as central as the loop to be expensive. The Northside is expensive of course, but even Northwest is not that cheap (I would say relatively reasonable, maybe about $200/sf). It seems like there is a lack of urban housing in areas that are relatively safe (and not decayed to the point of having overly reduced walkability) even in Chicago.

Then you see something like this.
6036 South Green Street, Chicago IL - Trulia
$125/sf in Englewood.

7323 South Peoria Street, Chicago IL - Trulia
And $140/sf.

Considering it's seen as one of the worst neighbourhoods in Chicago, it makes you what kind of condition the under $100,000 stuff is (or if this seller is just crazy).

I think most metro areas have lack of supply for urban housing that has certain attributes, namely relatively safe, decent transit and jobs nearby (not true of some midwestern cities), housing that isn't falling apart and not having gone downhill so much that all the half decent retail is gone. But urban housing not taking into account those attributes is not under supplied in some cities, so I guess in those cases (ex Chicago) it would be better to improve the West and South side neighbourhoods than building new housing in the North/Northwest (although that could be more difficult).
Ah the first house is an 2 flat, they are mostly bought by people looking for investment properties to rent out so the price isn't that out of whack for the area. The second is probably a foreclosure banks tend to try to sell it for far more than it is worth(and do great damage to an area by doing so). An house under $100,000 is either in an rough area, needs fixing, or both and you wont go far under $100,000 unless the seller is desperate.

Also walkable in terms of what, just because you might get shoot or mugged does not mean the area isn't walkable. Lots of people walk around these areas.
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Old 02-19-2014, 07:36 PM
Location: Philaburbia
32,391 posts, read 59,880,407 times
Reputation: 54037
We have an affordable housing shortage.
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Old 02-19-2014, 07:38 PM
Location: Vallejo
14,072 posts, read 16,098,416 times
Reputation: 12647
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
The article talks about a demand for "walkable urban" Ghetto areas like those bombed-out looking rowhouses don't fit the bill depending upon your definition of walkable. Certainly most bad neighborhoods have low walkscores, even if they have good walking infrastructure, because they often lack many businesses.

As far as I know, it's true in every single metro that if you look at only those areas where crime is low and schools are acceptable to parents, you'll find a significant price premium in the urban/walkable areas versus the suburban/unwalkable ones. Obviously many people (especially families) sacrifice the walkability first for obvious reasons. But just because they choose that option over ludicriously expensive neighorhoods or ghettos doesn't mean they'd make the same choice if there were enough "walkable urban" options that the price per square foot differential was nil.
Not here.

Oakland Apartments for Rent and Oakland Rentals - Walk Score

Most of Oakland has a good walkscore, the exceptions are mostly the upper hillls (very good neighborhoods) and the industrial areas in East Oakland. Tenderloin in San Francisco has an excellent WalkScore. Given, they're not decayed out husks like many rust belt cities by any stretch of the imagination.
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Old 02-19-2014, 09:04 PM
2,388 posts, read 2,957,397 times
Reputation: 1953
I don't think there's a shortage of housing just a shortage of housing near work, good transportation, other amenities or a combination of the three. It's not like the demand isn't recognized in specific places, builders want to build, it's just that there's enough well funded opposition to keep it from happening.

There was the former horse racing track in Cherry Hill, NJ next to a train station. The original plans were superb. Some residents railed against it for years, eventually chasing out the mayor. The main complaint from the opposition was "traffic". The original plan was eviscerated and replaced with a few big box stores and a strip mall that some might call a "lifestyle center" and on the edge of that are some suburban style townhouses and some age restricted housing but the uses are still mostly separated. To quote the movie Cars, Sally: "It looks awful!" McQueen: "Well, it matches the rest of the town."

The same thing happened to a smaller site in Hamilton, NJ

Ronkonkoma, NY has had similar struggles developing the LIRR parking lot (the garage to replace it has already been built).

It seems like it's a regular theme around MBTA stations and CalTrain stations.
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Old 02-19-2014, 09:55 PM
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
2,610 posts, read 3,764,345 times
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Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
No idea.

Say we jut ignore the 2,000 listings in south Chicago as to icky, that leaves 600+ in north Chicago. I'm sure they're not in the greatest of neighborhoods but just randomly picking the first one.
3323 W WASHINGTON Blvd #3, CHICAGO, IL 60624 | MLS# 08524062 | Redfin

$73 sq/ft, only 2bd (1200 square feet), $88k. It's not the lap of luxury, but it looks habitable. There's simply too many listings for it to be a seller is crazy. Most look at least habitable.
That one's in Garfield Park, not exactly North Chicago. It does seem roughly in-line with the other listings I've looked at for housing with no immediately apparent problems in the less desirable parts of the city.

Although I have no clue what having "in good condition" and "being sold as is" means on the same listing. I don't know about Chicago but around here, "being sold as is" means run down.
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Old 02-19-2014, 11:57 PM
Location: Tucson/Nogales
17,417 posts, read 21,259,305 times
Reputation: 24246
Here in Las Vegas, we have an urban housing shortage downtown. There's talk of many different projects, and I hope they all get built at once, before the NIMBY's start barking:

"No, too tall! It'll block my view!"

"Too much density!"

"20 stories? Chop off 10 floors of that, and we'll OK it!"
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Old 02-20-2014, 06:32 AM
3,492 posts, read 4,961,066 times
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Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
We definitely don't have a housing shortage... we may just be now wading our way through the glut built up during the boom. But real estate is location dependent, just because there is a glut in housing overall doesn't tell you anything about a specific market. Oakland or San Francisco have shortages. Suburban silicon valley has shortages. Chicago you've got hundreds of houses in urban areas with easy access to transit that cost less than $100,000. That doesn't mean there is a glut of housing inside the Loop.

You can't draw the conclusions the article draws if you're intelligent and unbiased.
For example, they show a picture of a carefully manicured suburb and say "too much." No, that's not true.
And then the show a picture of an abandoned urban area and say "this is technically urban but doesn't count."
Very clearly there's too much urban (or too much of the wrong kind) or that block wouldn't be abandoned. Also it's pretty clear there isn't too much suburban where that particular picture was taken, or at least not very much too much.

Moreover, overall doesn't help at all. Even if there is no urban housing shortage for the nation as a whole, what does that have to do with anything? Should we not build more urban housing in areas where there clearly is a shortage (Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, NYC areas) because there isn't in Detroit? That's just dumb. San Francisco's solution (clear lack of housing) is different than Cleveland where there's other problems, built environment and otherwise.
One million times more intelligent thought went into this post than into the article. Unfortunately, I must spread some reputation around before giving it to this poster again.
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Old 02-20-2014, 08:37 AM
3,492 posts, read 4,961,066 times
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The problem with the affordable housing shortage is that if housing becomes more affordable by just allowing builders to build, then people with existing mortgages often find themselves underwater because their house values go down. I don't see it as a major problem when house values go down, but for those that are underwater and are unable to sell and acquire a new property, it can make major issue when trying to relocate to work. If we were able to make it so they could reassign their existing mortgage to a new property given that the appraisal of the new property was at least equal to a current appraisal of the old property, they would be able to move and the investors would still be protected.

I'm all in favor of allowing housing to be more affordable. I moved to the suburbs because they had much more affordable housing. The challenge with creating housing in the city environments is that those areas are often already over run with traffic. Many of the middle class families want to move with their car, and the city won't create enough roads to accommodate the families that want to have their car(s). So largely you end with a situation where the rich can afford houses with space for their cars downtown, and those that really want/need to be close to the downtown area pay high rents for crappy buildings.

The easiest way to fix it, IMO, is to condemn some of the older massively run down areas and do a massive rebuild with the buildings 10 to 20 stories high with room for parking underneath. You can't rebuild one nice building into a crappy block, because the crime rate keeps the middle class families from moving in. If you can redo an entire block or two, you can have a new urban center. Not everyone wants to live that way, but I've known many people that wanted to have a condo in a downtown area.

Honestly, in my opinion, the city with the best chance at this would be Detroit. The weather sucks, but it is the same in Chicago and that is the 3rd largest city in the country. Detroit is currently the most astoundingly awful city in the country. However, a great deal of the infrastructure was already built. Given the shoddy finances, it would have a hard time getting any serious new financing, but with so many places behind on property taxes the city could be repossessing several areas and completely overhauling them. Given the crime problems, perhaps some small cities without debt, and with much better climates would stand a better chance at building this next generation style of city.

Central planning was a massive failure, but we've also seen that some regulation must be in place. Otherwise one store creates parking and has to threaten to tow vehicles because the store next to it creates no parking. If we want affordable housing to exist, it would help to lay out a framework in an area people want to move. Gain economies of scale on production and leverage the current low interest rates to finance the construction.

What we currently have, in my opinion, is an abundance of housing options that would be walkable, if they were safe. You definitely can walk there, but you might die. Few people want to take on that risk if they can avoid it.

It seems to me, the ideal test city for walkable (safely) urban housing would be to design a city with a very compact business area. Then include a few very wide streets with tall parking structures--for the people that would insist on coming in by car. This way the entire downtown area can be serviced by only two or three light rail stops. Farther out, you build the suburbs, for people that prefer that style of living, with large parking areas around the rail. These areas would need a few shopping areas of their own, but could still rely on the downtown area for things like convention centers. Again, you would design this so there were less stops. The problem that light rail (IE the max in Portland present) is that the stations are spread throughout a massive sprawling area and the trains must stop every one to two miles. The end result is a very slow moving transit system. If instead, you have 1-2 stops to pick up riders, then it goes at 80mph into downtown, where again it has only a couple stops, you could move people very quickly and make riding the light rail desirable.

Otherwise, creating affordable downtown living areas is very difficult and most cities just don't create reasonable access for cars. Doing grocery shopping by bus/rail/bike sucks if you have a family to feed, and the downtown stores tend to have much worse pricing.

How would you, urban planning people, recommend developing a more walkable downtown area with access to grocery shopping? Or would you simply expect the families to be able to afford eating out frequently?
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Old 02-20-2014, 10:30 AM
Location: Vallejo
14,072 posts, read 16,098,416 times
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Originally Posted by memph View Post
That one's in Garfield Park, not exactly North Chicago. It does seem roughly in-line with the other listings I've looked at for housing with no immediately apparent problems in the less desirable parts of the city.

Although I have no clue what having "in good condition" and "being sold as is" means on the same listing. I don't know about Chicago but around here, "being sold as is" means run down.
It's just a legal phrase that means there is no warranty, express or implied. Just a standard disclaimer to CYA.
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Old 02-20-2014, 12:16 PM
Location: Maui County, HI
4,131 posts, read 6,310,267 times
Reputation: 3364
Originally Posted by jade408 View Post
There isn't enough housing at the right price, but I hear that 25-30% of Apple employees (and similar rates for Google and Facebook) live in SF because they want an vibrant urban neighborhood. Which doesn't exist within 40 miles of either office.

San Jose is trying though.

Suburban housing is pretty available. With Cupertino, Santa Clara, San Jose.... al of the neighboring places are suburban in nature.
Imagine that... suburban style development turned out to be less desireable. But that was all developers were willing to do in the 90s and 2000s.
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