The Center for Neighborhood Technology released new data showing the affordability of housing when transportation expenses are included, which in many cases completely reverses perceived lower cost of suburban housing. This “location efficiency” analysis shows the real cost of long drives. Sadly, the Carson area municipal planning zone is not among those available, but the Reno and Las Vegas areas are. Something that jumped out at me in the Reno map is that all the “north valleys” areas of Washoe County, where people have moved for their lower housing costs, become unaffordable when the cost of transportation is added in. I’m sure if the Carson City data were available, it would show a similar pattern for the people who have moved out east of town for lower housing prices.
A technical but quite useful post on the data is available on the NRDC’s Switchboard blog under “Most important analysis of land use you’ll see all year: CNT proves benefits of smart growth nationwide.” The H+T Affordability Index itself is at http://htaindex.cnt.org/, along with a good explanation of location efficiency and the downloadable report “Penny Wise, Pound Fuelish.”