2018 Real Estate Trends to Watch: ‘Surban’—That Sweet Spot Between City and Suburb

By Len Elder, Instructor, McKissock Learning and Superior School of Real Estate  – RISMedia

 

No—”surban” is not a typo. Think of it as the melding of two words to form a new one in the same manner as celebrity name fusion—think Brangelina, Bennifer or Kimye. Surban refers to a suburban area that has the feel of an urban area, with walkability to great retail and restaurants from a house or apartment, and it’s what all the real estate trend predictors are talking about.

What Is Surban?
Surban is defined as a suburban area that has the feel of urban; it is a blend of the best of urban and suburban life. Urban planners would previously have described these as “mixed-use” areas, but surban is a relatively new term that fits a bit better.

Characteristics of surban areas include:

  • Located in suburban, not urban areas
  • Anchored in areas with highly-rated schools and low crime rates
  • Dominated by a number of housing options, from single-family residences to condos to townhomes
  • Surrounded by great retail and shopping areas in walkable distance
  • Highlighted with social venues such as restaurants, bars and entertainment

There is much being written about the current trend of surban living. The Urban Land Instituteestimates that these areas will draw at least 80 percent of the coming wave of households and will attract the most families in the next 10 years. Noted real estate consultants John Burns and Chris Porter recently authored a book, “Big Shifts Ahead,” and devoted an entire chapter to the surban way of life.

The Suburban and Urban Past
From 1950-1980, the real estate profession witnessed the trend of suburbia. Homeowners were moving out of the inner city and relocating in suburban areas. They were willing to sacrifice some incredible commute times to cities and suffer other inconveniences to experience an upscale lifestyle. This was because crime rates in urban areas were high and school performances were low.

The 1990s and 2000s brought with it an age of urbanization centered around the renewal of inner cities, development of mixed-use properties in urban areas, increased attention to mass transit, and a renewed focus on downtown condos. However, the economic downturn of the last decade left little job growth in the urban areas. In addition, crime rates are still relatively high, and school rankings and commitments to education remain low.  {READ MORE}

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