No recovery for housing in Atlanta’s exurbs

The Wall Street Journal takes a look today at the dying market for exurban housing in the Atlanta region, where the “recovery” in housing is taking place only in the city and in close-in suburbs (those near the job centers).

A quote:

Elsewhere in metropolitan Atlanta, there are plenty of cleared lots that are likely to remain vacant for another decade or more.

"Of all the lots out there, probably 95% of them are unbuildable," said Patrick Malloy, an Atlanta-area builder. Mr. Malloy said home prices are recovering—but only in the city and nearby suburbs, starting in the established affluent neighborhood of Buckhead and going north.

Much farther outside Atlanta, “the sales prices for homes are less than what the sticks and bricks cost,” Mr. Malloy said.

This is good news. I’m all for a focus on housing in areas near jobs and amenities. Basically, what I like about this trend is that it shows a demand for infill housing in developed areas rather than further sprawl eating into our disappearing farmland and forests.

What I hate, though, is the constant use of the word “recovery” in terms of exurban housing as if it’s a good thing. That stinks.

THIS is what we need to recover in the exurbs:

Georgia Farm

This is NOT what we need to recover:

Sprawl

Photo of Byron Herbert Reece Farm in Union County, GA by Flickr user UGArdener | Image of McMansion sprawl in Cumming, GA from Bing Maps