Brown, gray, and red are the new green. Fields, that is. Prime locations that hold the most promise for new housing projects may not be the green fields and pastures of yesteryear. More and more frequently, savvy builders are scooping up parcels in low-density suburbs, abandoned subdivisions, sidelined master plans, or decaying urban blocks. Not only can they get more bang for their buck in these areas, there are other benefits, as well. Brand-new homes in blighted neighborhoods in downtown areas or close-in suburbs could be just the ticket for young couples interested in living near work, nightlife, and public transportation. And abandoned subdivisions just might be worth salvaging for their already completed infrastructure and entitled lots.
The Changing Landscape
Urban locations are ripe with opportunity for savvy builders willing to do their homework.
Being able to acquire land below replacement cost is why these projects pencil out.
As the suburbs are redeveloped to accommodate population growth, they're starting to look more like mini cities.
Sales in master planned communities held up better in the downturn, but their future depends on finding deep-pocketed sources of capital to build them and homes that resonate with buyers.