The EPA has now released its report, “Residential Construction Trends in America’s Metropolitan Regions: 2012 Edition”. The report dovetails with the recently released ULI report Urban “Shifting Suburbs: Reinventing Infrastructure for Compact Development” in that it finds that:
Across the United States, many neighborhoods are experiencing dramatic transformations. Parking lots, underused commercial properties, and former industrial sites are being replaced by condominiums, apartments, townhouses, and small-lot single-family homes.
The report seeks to answer questions about potential shifts in the geography of residential construction and the possible rise of infill housing within the U.S. Analysis was performed by the EPA using building permit data to understand the number of residential construction starts alongside their geographic proximity.
The EPA presents a handful of key findings which will be important as we continue to grapple with how land will be developed in the coming months as well as how current land use trends and desires can be integrated with market performance. Among the findings are:
- Nearly three out of four large metropolitan regions saw an increased share of infill.
- Infill accounted for one-fifth of new housing construction.
- Infill residential development varied widely among metropolitan regions.
- Infill is associated with higher home prices and rail transit investment.
- Nearly all metropolitan regions are growing outward more than they are growing inward.
The report identifies some key areas which it was not able to assess including the quality of infill development, infill development outside of metropolitan areas, and the impacts of the 2008 market decline. Overall the EPA report begins to quantify the marketability of urbanist concepts and a number of key land use trends. The report concludes with a number of key questions that need to be answered in order to understand what qualitative inputs are driving these trends.