Bernstein & Feldman, P.A.

Providing Personal Counsel
And Representation For Over
30 Years

New study buries myth that cities are growing faster than suburbs p2

According to real estate market analysts at Trulia, the rumors of the death of the suburbs are greatly exaggerated. The company has come up with a different approach to determining urban and suburban growth trends, and the results fly directly in the face of findings based on census data.

A Brookings report based on census data was released over the summer, and the real estate industry was surprised to learn that urban centers grew slightly faster than suburban areas last year. The surprise, of course, was that suburbs had outpaced urban centers for 90 years. But Trulia decided to change the definition of "urban" and "suburban," and the results were surprising for a different reason: They did not match the census analysis.

Trulia essentially started from scratch in their analysis. Rather than lumping together large cities with the rest of their counties and calling that "urban," the analysts broke the data down by ZIP code and determined which clusters were more densely populated than others.

For example, using the "old" analysis, Anne Arundel County could be labeled as urban based on the population density of Annapolis (5,100 people per square mile). Population growth in Annapolis would be credited to the entire county, even if towns farther from the coast are losing their downtowns and their more densely populated urban-like centers.

This may be a fine line for most of us, but development companies make investment decisions based on this data. Large retailers, for example, want to be in the suburbs but close enough to the densely populated towns or cities to lure shoppers from stores within city limits.

The challenge with this data is that it undermines arguments from environmentalists and different factions of urban planners. Those groups have held dear the belief that Americans are embracing more economical and ecologically sound life styles by moving back to the city centers. With the Trulia data, their optimism is tempered.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "Trulia Throws Cold Water on 'Death of Suburbia' Argument," Robbie Whelan, Oct. 12, 2012

Our firm works with investors and developers who are interested in commercial property in either urban areas or the suburbs. If you would like to learn more about our Annapolis, Maryland, practice, please visit our website's commercial real estate page.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information