This week, Wonkblog had several articles about different aspects of city living:
- The cities where salaries are keeping up with housing prices – and where they are not
Median wages grew 1.3 percent between the second quarter of 2012 and the second quarter of 2014. However, home prices grew by a stunning 17 percent, according to RealtyTrac, which used data on average weekly wages from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and median home prices from sales deeds in 184 metropolitan areas.
- When cheap housing isn’t really a good deal
The golden rule of housing affordability — embraced by government agencies, mortgage lenders, private landlords and the financially savvy — says you that should not spend more than around 30 percent of your income on your housing costs.
This number, though, is a little deceptive — or, at least, it’s incomplete. That’s because decisions that you make about where to live influence what you pay for life’s second-biggest expense: transportation.
- New Census data: Americans are returning to the far-flung suburbs
During the housing bubble, Americans moved in droves to the exurbs, to newly paved subdivisions on what was once rural land. Far-out suburbs had some of the fastest population growth in the country in the early 2000s, fueled by cheap housing and easy mortgages. And these places helped redefine how we think about metropolitan areas like Washington, pushing their edges farther and farther from the traditional downtown.
In the wake of the housing crash, these same places took the biggest hit. Population growth in the exurbs stalled. They produced a new American phenomenon: the ghost subdivision of developments abandoned during the housing collapse before anyone got around to finishing the roads or sidewalks.
- How the whitest city in America appears through the eyes of its black residents
(Portland, OR) is about 76 percent white, making it the whitest big city in the U.S. And diversity has been dwindling in the neighborhoods close to the center of town, as minorities have increasingly moved out to the city’s edges.
- Welcome to the world of the $6 bus ride to work, $7 juice not included
The new venture-backed private transportation service Leap began offering rides in San Francisco last week in a swanky shuttle meant to feel “more like a living room than a bus.” A ride with the service, which costs $6 one-way or $5 in bulk, comes with WiFi, USB ports, a laptop bar and locally made pressed juices (for sale on board, that is).