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Old 03-27-2015, 01:45 AM
 
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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.
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Old 03-27-2015, 11:26 AM
 
Location: Vallejo
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Location dependent. The crappy little ranch houses that were built between WWII and 1959 in the Peninsula/South Bay are going for around a million dollars. They're pretty much old little houses without any character, just cracker boxes that were built cheap. But they're somewhere that people want to live rather than in the rust belt which isn't that desirable. Pretty much the same on the other side of the Bay. Things are a little cheaper but Hayward/Fremont are still $500-700k. Fremont especially has gentrified a lot in the last 20 years.
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Old 03-27-2015, 11:54 AM
 
Location: Youngstown, Oh.
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Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
Location dependent. The crappy little ranch houses that were built between WWII and 1959 in the Peninsula/South Bay are going for around a million dollars. They're pretty much old little houses without any character, just cracker boxes that were built cheap. But they're somewhere that people want to live rather than in the rust belt which isn't that desirable. Pretty much the same on the other side of the Bay. Things are a little cheaper but Hayward/Fremont are still $500-700k. Fremont especially has gentrified a lot in the last 20 years.
For those of us not familiar with the area, what are these prices like, relative to gentrified and non gentrified urban areas, and "outer-ring" suburbs?
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Old 03-27-2015, 12:02 PM
bu2
 
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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.
I'd say its just a natural cycle. Inner city areas in many places are redeveloping while inner ring suburbs decline. Eventually those suburbs will redevelop, at least most of them.
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Old 03-27-2015, 12:20 PM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
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Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
Location dependent. The crappy little ranch houses that were built between WWII and 1959 in the Peninsula/South Bay are going for around a million dollars. They're pretty much old little houses without any character, just cracker boxes that were built cheap. But they're somewhere that people want to live rather than in the rust belt which isn't that desirable. Pretty much the same on the other side of the Bay. Things are a little cheaper but Hayward/Fremont are still $500-700k. Fremont especially has gentrified a lot in the last 20 years.
Yes, I agree. We have the ugly little flat-roofed mid century 3 BR/1BA houses in part of Bellevue, WA, some with moss growing on the roof going for $450-500k and selling quickly. One in Kirkland is on over 3 acres but only 850sf going for $999,950. Good schools, proximity to jobs, and low crime make all the difference. It's not the age or design of the house in this market.


MLS 730686 | 539 Alexander Ave, Kirkland - SeattleHome.com
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Old 03-27-2015, 01:27 PM
 
Location: Vallejo
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Originally Posted by JR_C View Post
For those of us not familiar with the area, what are these prices like, relative to gentrified and non gentrified urban areas, and "outer-ring" suburbs?
Well, geography means you don't really get rings.

Anything on the Peninsula/South Bay is basically inner ring. East Bay is outter ring. East Bay is generally cheaper. Non-gentrified is pretty much limited to Oakland and maybe Hayward. You can find stuff there for $300-400k. Over course, then you're talking the crappy parts of Oakland.

Fremont is more similar in price these days to Dublin or Livermore. I guess you could call Fremont either inner or outer ring whereas Dublin is definitely outer ring. Something around 1,500 square feet in Fremont is around $600k versus more like a $1-$1.5 million in Peninsula/South Bay. Pleasanton is a little more expensive than Fremont (outter ring) for comparable housing. Thing is, most of the stuff out there isn't small. Lots of 3,000-4,000 square foot houses, so a big chunk of the market is in the $1 million range similar to the Peninsula/South Bay. The difference is just you're getting a house that's 2-3 times the size for the same amount of money. So it's either half the price or the same price for twice as much house depending on whether you go big house or not.

Last edited by Malloric; 03-27-2015 at 01:37 PM..
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Old 03-27-2015, 01:45 PM
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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
Location dependent. The crappy little ranch houses that were built between WWII and 1959 in the Peninsula/South Bay are going for around a million dollars. They're pretty much old little houses without any character, just cracker boxes that were built cheap. But they're somewhere that people want to live rather than in the rust belt which isn't that desirable. Pretty much the same on the other side of the Bay. Things are a little cheaper but Hayward/Fremont are still $500-700k. Fremont especially has gentrified a lot in the last 20 years.
Ditto with Long Island, though prices aren't Bay Area levels. Further out is slightly cheaper. Not as extreme, low-end old houses go far the low $300s. 1948, Levittown boxes, 1200 sq feet (original was 800 feet, but part was left unfinished, almost everyone finished the unfinished section in 65+ years). Most neighborhoods in Nassau are higher, $400+. I doubt the rust belt homes are that different in quality, there's just less incentive to keep them up and lower incomes

38 Rock Ln, Levittown, NY 11756 is For Sale | Zillow

Further out on Long Island, less desireable areas may be in the $200s. Long Island's not immune to suburban decline, however there's no inner vs outer suburb pattern

Zombie Houses on Long Island
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Old 03-27-2015, 02:44 PM
 
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It's a pretty long article and, judging by the responses here, I'm going to assume that most people didn't read it - but I think it's worth it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
Location dependent. The crappy little ranch houses that were built between WWII and 1959 in the Peninsula/South Bay are going for around a million dollars. They're pretty much old little houses without any character, just cracker boxes that were built cheap. But they're somewhere that people want to live rather than in the rust belt which isn't that desirable. Pretty much the same on the other side of the Bay. Things are a little cheaper but Hayward/Fremont are still $500-700k. Fremont especially has gentrified a lot in the last 20 years.
A lack of housing choice isn't really indicative of preference. In the Bay Area people don't have a choice but to buy those houses and put money into them because there's nowhere else to live . . . unless you want to commute from Stockton. It's a similar situation around NYC and Boston.

Still, there's certainly a niche market for Mid-Century Modern houses and the Eichlers of Palo Alto certainly have their own fan base in a manner that's similar to people in SF and the East Bay who are really into their Victorian/Queen Anne architecture. Mid-century housing is not my style but I get why some people like them and they certainly beat the brick boxes of Detroit and Cleveland.

In any case, give the article a read. It's quite nuanced.
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Old 03-27-2015, 03:11 PM
 
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Originally Posted by nei View Post
Ditto with Long Island, though prices aren't Bay Area levels. Further out is slightly cheaper. Not as extreme, low-end old houses go far the low $300s. 1948, Levittown boxes, 1200 sq feet (original was 800 feet, but part was left unfinished, almost everyone finished the unfinished section in 65+ years). Most neighborhoods in Nassau are higher, $400+. I doubt the rust belt homes are that different in quality, there's just less incentive to keep them up and lower incomes
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.
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Old 03-27-2015, 05:13 PM
 
Location: Vallejo
14,069 posts, read 16,085,690 times
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Originally Posted by drive carephilly View Post
It's a pretty long article and, judging by the responses here, I'm going to assume that most people didn't read it - but I think it's worth it.



A lack of housing choice isn't really indicative of preference. In the Bay Area people don't have a choice but to buy those houses and put money into them because there's nowhere else to live . . . unless you want to commute from Stockton. It's a similar situation around NYC and Boston.

Still, there's certainly a niche market for Mid-Century Modern houses and the Eichlers of Palo Alto certainly have their own fan base in a manner that's similar to people in SF and the East Bay who are really into their Victorian/Queen Anne architecture. Mid-century housing is not my style but I get why some people like them and they certainly beat the brick boxes of Detroit and Cleveland.

In any case, give the article a read. It's quite nuanced.
Sure you do.

For a million bucks you can get a newer, bigger home built in the late '90s or 2000s in Hayward or Fremont or south San Jose or Daly City or South San Francisco. It'll be much more house than the scrappy little cracker boxes on postage stamp lots you'd get in the Peninsula or most of the South Bay. Thing is, the little scrappy cracker boxes also located are where people want to live. I'm not saying they're amazing houses. They're not. Good luck finding ANYTHING in Palo Alto for anywhere near a million.

And while there is a following of Eichlers, much to the dismay of the Eichler fans, many have been bought and promptly torn down. Many people with the means to buy a $2 million house don't want to live in a 1,200 square foot home that was cheaply produced in the '50s. Eichlers were a little nicer than your average tract home but they were still tract homes which tend to be mass produced inexpensively. Eichlers basically given historical preservation status in many Palo Alto neighborhoods for that reason. People were coming in and buying them up to build something they wanted to live where they wanted to live.

Last edited by Malloric; 03-27-2015 at 05:26 PM..
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