Skip to Content
Streetsblog USA home
Streetsblog USA home
Log In
Sprawl

Two Graphs That Illustrate America’s Dysfunctional Housing Market

4:58 PM EST on February 5, 2015

Jed Kolko, chief economist at real estate information giant Trulia, recently shared these two graphs that give us an interesting glimpse into what's happening in the American housing market.

This first graph shows that housing development is growing fastest in the suburbs. To be precise, the most sprawling, suburban of suburbs.

Jed Kolko via Twitter
Chart: Jed Kolko via Twitter
Jed Kolko via Twitter

But that's only part of the story. If you look at where housing prices are rising fastest, the pattern flips. The most urban neighborhoods are where prices are heating up the most.

Chart: Jed Kolko via Twitter
Chart: Jed Kolko via Twitter
Chart: Jed Kolko via Twitter

What does this tell us? A few things.

As Kolko put it in a follow-up tweet, "limited supply" is "constraining urban growth." It's much, much easier to build new homes in undeveloped greenfields than in central cities, where zoning and NIMBYism prevent housing construction. If we're going to reduce sprawl and make city living affordable, we're going to need to ratchet up housing construction in urban areas.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog USA

Friday’s Headlines Are So Fresh and So Clean

The only thing Americans love more than a car is a clean car.

February 23, 2024

CalBike: Tell the Legislature Hands Off Active Transportation Funding

Calbike has an action alert that allows its members to write directly to legislators with their feelings on whether or not the ATP funding should be restored before the legislature votes on the budget in June.

February 22, 2024

Oakland Rips Out Protected Bike Lane on Embarcadero

The city and the councilmember who represents District 2 complain about lack of resources for safety projects, but somehow they have the resources to rip out protected bike lanes.

February 22, 2024

Talking Headways Podcast: The Annual Yonah Freemark Show, Part II

This week, let's talk about transit funding in general and the Roosevelt Boulevard subway in Philadelphia, specifically.

February 22, 2024

State DOTs Spend Even More Money on Highway Expansions Than We Thought

Advocates knew states would go on a highway widening binge when the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed — but they didn't know it would be quite this bad.

February 22, 2024
See all posts