Los Angeles Times, June 17, 2008 Gas prices latest worry for real estate market.

The financial burden of longer commutes makes homes in outlying areas that are already reeling even less attractive. Buyers are increasingly factoring gasoline costs into their purchase decisions, said Dan Griffith, a Rancho Cucamonga-based real estate agent.

Christopher Leinberger of the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank, says home values in these so-called exurbs may continue to languish long after urban markets begin to recover, thanks to higher gas costs.

"Under the old model we have lived with for the past 50 years, you could drive away from major employment concentrations until you could qualify for a house because cheap energy costs made it possible," Leinberger said. "Now as energy prices go up, the housing prices out there on the fringe take a major hit."




Way out

Wow. According to the article, prices have fallen 40% in several distant LA towns, like Lancaster, Palmdale, and Victorville -- where prices were already very affordable by L.A. standards. Then again, the only thing those towns have is their cheapness: they're out in the middle of the desert, with everything a good 20-mile drive back over the mountains.


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