The New Urban Suburbs
If you have been looking for an apartment in a major city recently, you may have noticed that rental rates are higher than the last time you went apartment hunting. There’s a reason for this: More people are moving to major metropolitan areas, increasing demand for apartments and increasing rent by an average of 3.1 percent.
Urban centers are getting denser as more people are finding themselves unhappy with suburban life. And who can blame them? It’s necessary to have a car to get around, many neighborhoods are poorly planned and amenities are far from home. The American Dream of living in the suburbs with a big lot, white picket fence and four-car garage is less popular than ever. Though many young Millennials and recent retirees prefer urban neighborhoods to sprawling ‘burbs, some would-be urbanites are being priced out of apartments within the city limits.
Could there be a middle ground for those who prefer a walkable urban lifestyle but don’t want to shell out the dough for big-city accommodations? More suburban areas are embracing a city-like environment where residents can walk to the train station and be easily connected to urban centers through public transportation. Could this be the best of both worlds?
Coined “urban suburbs,” apartment complexes and townhouses are being built that mimic a small town within a town. It may be awhile before this trend begins to branch out across the nation, but it is very much happening outside of cities like Chicago, where urban suburbs like Evanston, Oak Park, Berwyn and Des Plains are experiencing booming rental growth.
This rental trend is likely to continue as more and more Millennials begin looking for communities in which to raise children, but don’t want to sacrifice the walkability and amenities that cities provide. As rental rates have already climbed in high-demand urban areas, it is likely that walkable, urban suburbs will likely see increasing rent costs, as well.