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Old 03-27-2015, 07:17 PM
 
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Funny coming from the OP, because most of the inner ring suburbs of Philly are doing fine. Bala Cynwyd, Media, Gladwyne.. these are some of the wealthiest areas around. The NJ suburbs (not counting the city of Camden) are quite wealthy too.
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Old 03-27-2015, 08:20 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
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One issue with mid 20th century homes is they're not only smaller than newer construction, they are also apparently smaller than older construction. Pre-1900 houses are nearly as large as houses from the 1990s.



To a degree I think the size of older houses is a bit artificially inflated. A lot of the working-class 19th century housing stock has been lost due to blight or "urban renewal." Styled houses for the middle class and wealthy have been disproportionately more likely to survive. In addition, many early housing styles used a lot of internal space for circulation, meaning the actual living space in a 19th century home may not be as large as the square footage indicates. Still, my own experience is that mid-century homes are almost invariably more cramped internally than the type of housing built for that social class a few decades prior.

Regardless, I think the use of the term "inner ring" is a bit of a misnomer for this type of suburb. In many metros, there are a number of earlier first-ring suburbs, built out between the 1890s and the 1920s. These tend to maintain high desirability, because they have the whole architectural charm and (semi) walkable status going for them.

Last edited by eschaton; 03-27-2015 at 09:11 PM..
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Old 03-27-2015, 08:31 PM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
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However, the cheaper homes in the early 1900s weren't single-family detached. Though it depends on the region, but at least in New England those homes are more likely to be rentals and not on the chart.
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Old 03-27-2015, 10:42 PM
 
Location: Thunder Bay, ON
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In Toronto, many inner ring suburbs are doing pretty well depending on what you consider inner ring.

Toronto has had a quadrant pattern of wealth, with neighbourhoods around Yonge and along Bloor (west of Keele) being quite wealthy and getting increasingly desirable for a long time, whether that's early 20th century homes or mid 20th century homes. There's also been a lot of tear down activity especially for the more 1920-1960 homes which are more likely to be smaller relative to their lot size.

However, you're now seeing gentrification and appreciation spread from downtown and from the wealthy quadrants to the historically more working class and middle class areas: South Etobicoke, Little Portugal, Leslieville, Danforth, East York, Oakwood-Vaughan, Weston, Birch Cliff, Maple Leaf, Wexford, Topham Park, Oakridge, Victoria Village, Parkwoods, Glen Park, Wilson Heights. The first half of these neighbourhoods are mostly pre-WWII but the second half are more 1940-1960 housing with some newer re-builds/tear-downs.

Also - this is a more recent trend, so I don't know how it will hold up, but more outer suburban areas with newer, cheaper suburban housing seem to have appreciated decently well in the last few years (2012-2015 or so). However from 2000-2010 many of these have experienced somewhat of an increase in poverty.

It looks like in the last couple years, some of the more high-end outer suburbs have seen prices stabilize (i.e. less appreciation than average), so maybe they were somewhat overpriced. I think some of the more gentrified core neighbourhoods have more or less maxed out price wise too. On the low-end of the market, high-rise, both condo and older apartments, seems to be experiencing relatively little price growth. Single family homes in some of the "worst" areas are seeing relatively little price growth too, like in Jane-Finch, which is kind of too far to benefit from gentrification in the core.
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Old 03-27-2015, 11:41 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drive carephilly View Post
Really great analysis of inner-ring suburbs from a midwest perspective. Why they're declining, and how they're different.

I'm obviously going to disagree with their go-to "white flight" narrative but I'd just be disagreeing with the cause and effect. The racial component is obvious to anyone familiar with these kinds of suburbs.

The Complications of Our Deteriorating Inner Ring Suburbs | Belt Magazine | Dispatches From The Rust Belt

The suburbs that seem to be falling victim to quick decline (and the subsequent racial divides) are the ones that had most of their housing built between the end of World War II and 1959. About 60 percent of Ferguson’s housing was built in that time frame, meaning that these old houses are now wearing out all at once, hitting the point where they are not appealing to most new home buyers, regardless of race.

“It’s a real conundrum right now,” says Jason Segedy, director of the Akron Metropolitan Area Transportation Study, a regional planning organization. “These houses are getting old and they were never really houses that had any character. Now they are small, and the heating and plumbing and roofs are getting to the age where they have to be updated. But no one wants to take on that cost when they have so many other choices.

“Here in the Cleveland area,” he continues, “you can look at Euclid and Garfield Heights and see the houses are not old enough to be completely decrepit and vacant yet, but most of them are not owner-occupied anymore — they are rentals that are getting crappier and crappier over time because they are aging and it is not economically viable to rehab them. But you can see where 20 years from now, unless these cities find a way to build new housing, half of their housing might be abandoned.
Reading all the comments to the article from a variety of knowledgeable, productive parts of the citizenry who have experienced these inner ring suburbs adds more in many ways than the article, which is good, but avoids some sensitive social issues that lead to movement: lack of common cultural values, the impact on the two sensitive variables to deciding where to live for a family; (safety / crime, and schools / anticipated property value retention) - and behavioral issues along with bad federal / financial lending policies.

The most prescient point in the article is the large concentration in 'some' of these suburbs as blue collar working class cities dependent on large manufacturing employment sector (in many ways which simply migrated out from city neighborhoods which they mimicked) - and its subsequent decrease in need for labor (whether off shoring or technological efficiency gains i.e. more output per worker labor hour, stagnant wages, and declining real income for past forty years.
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Old 03-28-2015, 12:31 AM
 
Location: South Park, San Diego
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Yep, very location dependent. Out in the west, including places like Denver in addition to the obvious; Seattle, Portland, Bay Area and San Diego, many inner ring "streetcar suburbs" adjacent to downtown with early 20th century architecture are amongst the most desirable in a city. We are a first ring suburb and the median price around here is around $700k for a housing mix consisting of many 2br 1 ba 1300 SF bungalows, and if you are talking 3br 2 ba and 1800 SF on a premium location then you are looking at closer to $1M and above. Very low inventory and high desirability makes for a dynamic and challenging market.

The real estate world of declining (even as some specific areas are gentrifying) rust belt cities does not translate well into other areas experiencing a completely different growth pattern.
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Old 03-28-2015, 09:06 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drive carephilly View Post

The NYC and SF metros don't really have much in common with the rest of the country outside maybe Seattle, DC, and Boston.
I read the article, and it seemed very Cleveland specific.

Although it's true that NYC and SF don't have much in common with the rest of the country, or with each other, I'd argue the same is true with places like Cleveland and Chicago. There certainly isn't another Chicago anywhere in the country. Cleveland is kind of a mix of Chicago and Pittsburgh. However, there aren't really any Clevelands in the south, or west, or even in the rest of the midwest west of Ohio.
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Old 03-28-2015, 09:54 AM
 
Location: Tampa - St. Louis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drive carephilly View Post
It's a long article that didn't feel right to post in its entirety . . . anyway:

One question that keeps coming up is how other inner ring suburbs, which also had big increases in single-family home construction in the 40s and 50s, have stayed more economically stable. Cities like Evanston, Illinois, and Gross Pointe, Michigan, or Lakewood and Shaker Heights, outside Cleveland, are also close to the central city but are not seeing the falloff like Euclid and Ferguson and Maple Heights. The key words are “balance” and “quality.”

Take Lakewood, Ohio, just west of Cleveland along Lake Erie. Lakewood was pretty much built out by 1929, with three decades of steady growth, instead of all of it coming in a short period of time. In Shaker Heights, 90 percent of the city’s housing was built out over 40 years (1920-1959), with almost identical numbers in neighboring Cleveland Heights. And much of the housing in these more wealthy suburbs was built before New York’s Levittown inspired a boom in factory homes that could be cranked out quickly to meet the demand not been addressed during the Depression and WWII.

In effect, these inner ring suburbs have had their housing stock age more incrementally and not all at once.

But there are other factors at play. The housing in suburbs like Euclid and Ferguson became obsolete almost as soon as it was built. First-time home buyers wanted more space almost immediately; the average size of a home in the United States has increased from about 1,000 square feet in 1950 to 2,500 square feet in 2010. And while gentrifiers continue to say that urban cores are growing at exponential rates, people are still mostly moving further and further out.


it continues . . .

But the problem in the Cleveland and Detroit suburbs, she says, “is that in cities like San Francisco or Chicago you can have smaller-sized housing that is old but it has value to be rehabbed because their economies are growing. In some cities they take this old housing and add a floor or push out into the back yard, but I think in the case of Euclid and Ferguson and other Midwest inner ring suburbs there doesn’t seem to be the market to do that.”

The NYC and SF metros don't really have much in common with the rest of the country outside maybe Seattle, DC, and Boston.

I don't know Nassau County super well but I don't think it was without a period of decline (and probably isn't entirely past it either). Long Beach in particular seems like it fell on hard times for awhile. But much of the value there is being driven by proximity/LIRR access to the city. People can and will modify older, crappy houses because the market is there to do that. You can drop $80k on renovations and be confident that you're going to recoup your investment when you sell in 10 years. You can't do that in Cleveland on a house that you bought for $30k.

Philadelphia has aspects of both markets. You have strong and growing value in places like Collingswood, Westmont, Haddonfield, etc - architecturally diverse towns with good transit access to the city - and it's the same thing in the western/northern suburbs along the rail lines. But when you get away from the rail lines and where you have that monotony of 1950s/60s housing stock those places are struggling. It's especially apparent in parts of Bucks, Delaware, Camden, and Burlington counties. It's still a growing region so it's nowhere near what it is in Cleveland or Detroit but it's there and clearly visible.
There a lot of assumptions being made about Ferguson. Not only does Ferguson have a traditional main street, but there are some really high end historical house in Ferguson that are NOT cheap. The West Florissant strip is dated and kind of run down, but the larger part of Ferguson was stable, black middle class and some well to do whites that lived in the historic district. Nice little tree lined streets with brick bungalows and ranches. That was the tragedy of Ferguson locally, it definitely is not a slum. Most of the problems in that city was concentrated around the Canfield apartments (where Mike Brown lived).
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Old 03-28-2015, 01:01 PM
 
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Of course it is very dependent on metro area and direction from center city. But many of them are industrial suburbs. Needless to say, they are not attractive to the affluent. But lately the industrial component has declined, and Propinquity to a resurgent downtown has made some of the smaller homes prime teardown candidates.
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Old 03-28-2015, 01:10 PM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tjasse View Post
I read the article, and it seemed very Cleveland specific.

Although it's true that NYC and SF don't have much in common with the rest of the country, or with each other, I'd argue the same is true with places like Cleveland and Chicago. There certainly isn't another Chicago anywhere in the country. Cleveland is kind of a mix of Chicago and Pittsburgh. However, there aren't really any Clevelands in the south, or west, or even in the rest of the midwest west of Ohio.
The OP's article wasn't intended to be a statement about suburbs across the country, though it probably have some relevance to other midwestern or rust belt suburbs. Comparing outside the region does show that it's not just the age; plenty homes in other areas are fine shape and in demand. For whatever reason, staying in the same neighborhood and renonvating those homes isn't a popular demand people are less interested in staying in the same community and for whatever reason the location doesn't have much value. Both Cleveland Heights and Shaker Heights, mentioned as having decline, issues are often used as examples as nicer, older walkable suburbs with a downtown. Appears to be better than the worst examples given (Euclid) but still hasn't been enough. This part is telling:

One can easily purcahse a home for less than $75k and this is bringing in the same type of owner (slum lord) which is destroying other cities. Combine with local leadership which has driven taxes to the highest in the state at 4% of market value, and you have a major problem. Credit to the city for being much stricter than other cities for code violations but when there is no money or will to fix a property there is not much the city can do. Cleveland Heights is in an even worse predicament than Shaker Heights with crime skyrocketing too.

Some of these suburbs had rather low home values to begin with. Once a poorer class of people that move in and cause quality of life issues to the point where crime increases (and schools probably too), home values decline further, and a downward spiral begins. I'll add Long Island has a few similar examples, but the higher home values limits how much this can happen, and there's little bias towards older vs newer suburbs: location matters.
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