Residential Building Permits Rise in November, but Face an Overall Decline. Gone for Good or Will Sprawl Return?
The Kansas City Business Journal reports that November 2011 residential building permits rose 7% over the same month last year; however, according to the article, the overall metro area is down 7% year to date.
“While Jackson County is up 12 percent year-to-date compared with 2010 and Johnson County is up 4 percent, the overall metro is down 7 percent.”
Do you think this decline in building permits is a result of a change in attitudes, lifestyle and preferences of Americans, or is it just a result of our sluggish economy? This recent article the Death of the Fringe Suburb in the New York Times makes this assertion:
“Simply put, there has been a profound structural shift — a reversal of what took place in the 1950s, when drivable suburbs boomed and flourished as center cities emptied and withered.”
The article goes on to describe a shift in preferences amongst the two largest buying groups, the baby boomers and the millennials. The author asserts that no longer do people want to move to the fringe of town for a huge house and a long commute; people crave community, density, character, walkability and public transit, and the housing market faces a huge change on the horizon. Personally, I believe these things are far more important than having a big new house, and I hope there is some truth to this argument.
I would love your opinion on this matter. Will we ever see the same growth in the outer rings, or should we get used to a decline of new residential permits? Is this a result of the economy or a shift in lifestyle? Is Kansas City stuck in the sprawl mindset, or are we changing along with the rest of the country?
Photo from Zeusface on Flickr. His collection called Suburbia in Free Fall tells a powerful visual story of the aftermath of the building boom and 2008 real estate crash.
I find this social phenomenon really interesting. I grew up in the suburbs during the 80s and have always looked longingly at older city neighborhoods for the reasons you mentioned above. However, KC confuses me a bit. While I do see other people my age returning to the urban core, it still seems like the vast majority of people (especially those w/ kids) prefer the outer suburbs. I hope this is just my observation. I would love to see further renewal of KC’s urban neighborhoods. They have so much potential!
I found this blog via a post over at Retro Renovation about Youngstown steel cabinets. I’m glad I found it! I live in Overland Park, but we are looking to move next year. I work Downtown and my husband and I are hoping to move a bit closer in. I currently use public transporation to get to work and if I could continue to do so, I will. For us, schools are a huge factor as we have an 11-yr old. We currently home school, but want to live in an area that has a good public school system as well as a choice of private schools if our son decides he wants to go back to a more tradtional school setting. Right now, it’s looking like Mission and Roeland Park might best fit our needs and budget. I would love to look at Midtown neighborhoods, but the KCMO school district and all of its’ drama keeps us from considering it.
Thanks for writing, Kelley. Don’t you just love reading Retro Renovation? What a great blog – it is always such a great place for me to find inspiration for my work and blog. That’s so cool that you would like to move closer in to be nearer the city and your work. Even with all the popularity of leading a greener lifestyle, stil most of my clients end up moving out of the city, not toward it. I’m hoping to see this as a new trend! Lifestyle and location are so important to me, and I’m glad we share that sensibility. I work frequently in Roeland Park and Mission, and I would love to help you find something when you are ready. I see that you have a blog too – I will definitely start following you on all the multitudes of social media…. your writing is entertaining and I always enjoy learning crafting tips. i hope to see more posts on your blog! Keep in touch and please do contact me when you are ready to make your move. I’d love to meet you.