The latest data on residential construction lays bear the challenge we face in decarbonizing the built environment.
Large and even small metro areas are seeing the steepest decline in both single family and multi-family construction, while outlying and micro counties are holding up best.
That means more supply is being added in areas where households tend to have no choice but to rely on personal vehicles for their daily needs, often needing more than one vehicle. Homes also tend to be larger and further from amenities and workplaces in these small and less dense communities.
Even if new homes are built with more sustainable materials, the trend implies a greater reliance on personal transportation, larger homes to heat and cool, etc. Building in this way increases the challenge of decarbonizing the built environment and transportation.
Rising Housing Affordability Crisis: Uninsured Homes Create New Vulnerabilities
A good bit of the housing affordability crisis is hiding underwater.
To make ends meet and avoid being shut out of a home, an increasing number of households are opting out of home insurance given the high and rising cost of premiums. Many others are losing out on home insurance options, as more and more insurance companies and policies exit the market.
Although some people are managing to stay in their homes, they are increasing their vulnerability in the process. That’s a new ripple in the affordability crisis waiting to rear its head:
This article in HousingWire addresses the collapse in home insurance policies available to those still looking. Less competition no doubt contributes to the hefty premium increases that have priced many out.
The graph above shows that downtowns in cities of all sizes experienced similar drops in foot traffic in early pandemic days. However, those in small cities have now recovered to pre-pandemic levels while those in large cities remain mired in half recovery.
This article from Financial Times looks beyond observed foot traffic patterns to estimate welfare gains and losses that have accrued to different cities based on their employment mix, size, etc. The panels below plot these estimates across cities of different sizes.