Urbanexus Update — Issue #23

Please scroll down for the weekly compilation of analysis, reporting and opinion about real estate and community development. Some links may lead to articles that are behind a paywall.

The economy and real estate


Many closely followed economic models don’t consider the mounting costs of extreme weather caused by climate change, which might be accelerating faster than forecasters think.


Toll Brothers surged 14% on August 21, 2018, from a very depressed base. Other builders have been acting better than TOL on the heels of strong operating results.

Housing and community development


Under the plan, the county would purchase enough modular units to house 195 people. But timely implementation depends on permitting from the City of Seattle.


Ten years after a housing collapse during the Great Recession, home values have rebounded but there are too few homes on the market. The cost of buying a home has soared far past the point of affordability for many in the market. One culprit: Home construction per household is at its lowest level since Kennedy was president. In some growing midsize cities, there are 10 times as many buyers as homes available.


One way that society has innovated — in the form of housing preferences and choices — is to create a small but fast-growing in-between category of housing options — the newly-built single-family for-rent neighborhood. Five percent of new housing starts in the USA are built to rent.


Shea Homes now offers a product that caters to the needs of active adults looking for smaller, simpler homes that don’t compromise on useable square footage or specialty features.


Airbnb has announced its second branded apartment community, a property in Nashville that will rent to both long- and short-term residents. The company also says it plans to open more such properties — as many as 14 by 2020.


Change in The Bronx www.citylab.com

Decades after photographing its abandoned buildings and makeshift playgrounds, Camilo José Vergara sees an unmatched contrast between past and present in the economically devastated borough of New York City.

W fillmore map 2
W fillmore map 2

West downtown in Phoenix emergesdtphx.org

There’s a surprising new hot spot for downtown Phoenix development.


Encouraging mixed-income, multifamily development as a way of making housing more affordable. But it’s a notion homeowners of all political leanings tend to oppose.

Real estate history


More than 50 years after redlining was outlawed, the legacy of discrimination can still be seen in California’s poorest large city.

Map prepared in 1936


Usually frozen waters open up twice this year in phenomenon scientists described as scary

World forest cover 1070
World forest cover 1070

Human impact on the world’s forestswww.visualcapitalist.com

Forests cover 30% of the world’s land. These maps and charts show where forests are flourishing, and where human activity is chipping away at the tree line


A new report from the Urban Land Institute looks at the business case for designing healthy buildings.

Around the world


The most populous city in South America, Sao Paulo has undergone rapid population growth as Brazilians deserted the countryside seeking work, but it has never built to keep up. Half a million families have nowhere to live, a crisis that forced some to set up home in abandoned downtown buildings, many of them fire hazards unsafe for human habitat.

Striving to understand what shapes change across metropolitan regions and creates opportunities — and challenges — for equitable and sustainable development.