Mixed-Use Communities a Growing Preference

Respondents to an Urban Land Institute study have shown a growing preference for mixed-use communities and a willingness to trade space for proximity to work/school:

The needs and wants of renters and homeowners aren’t so very different, as evidenced by the Urban Land Institute’s America in 2013 housing survey: both demographics are big fans of mixed-use communities…

In terms of important community characteristics, both renters and homeowners chose neighborhood safety and the quality of public schools as the top two most-desired attributes. But where homeowners tapped “Space Between Neighbors” as their No. 3 concern, renters chose walkability as the third most important attribute.

Proximity to work/school was the fourth most-desired attribute, and that consideration may even trump square footage. The majority of both renters and homeowners say they would be OK with trading a shorter commute for a smaller home–about 61 percent of respondents said they wouldn’t mind that trade-off.

The preference for suburbs or small towns is still strong: Only 28 percent of respondents said they prefer living in a medium-sized or big city, But the pull of urban living is strongest in some key demographics; about 43 percent of all Latinos surveyed prefer city life, as do 40 percent of Gen Y members.