How More Expensive Housing Can Actually Cost You Less

Housing policymakers have long lamented the trend of home-buyers who “drive to qualify.” If they can’t find anything affordable in the city, house hunters wander farther and father out in search of a mortgage or a rent payment that matches their pocketbook. But of course, there’s a serious flaw in this thinking: The farther you go in search of cheaper housing, the more expensive your transportation costs become.

Scott Bernstein of the Center for Neighborhood Technology calls this “the hidden cost of housing location,” and CNT has for several years been trying to illustrate the tradeoff for homeowners and government officials who may not realize gallons of gas add up almost as fast as mortgage payments do. The Chicago-based organization maintains a massive, geo-coded database of location-specific information on average housing costs, driving rates, transportation costs, and transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions. The online, interactive index is both highly useful in allowing comparisons of typical household costs in different locations and highly revealing as it illuminates the benefits of close-in, walkable neighborhoods in bringing those costs down.

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[dcs_info Name="Source" value="The Atlantic" type="big" link="http://www.theatlanticcities.com/housing/2012/02/how-more-expensive-housing-can-actually-cost-you-less/1347/"]

[dcs_info Name="Author" value="Calgary Herald" type="big" link="http://www.theatlanticcities.com/housing/2012/02/how-more-expensive-housing-can-actually-cost-you-less/1347/"]