housing_inventory_SeattlePIYears ago, I heard from an economist friend about research showing that urban rents rose with oil prices in the 1970s, while suburban ones fell. Ultimately, land values reflect the shifts in the values of many things. So rising fuel prices would be expected to have the effect of making fuel-guzzling neighborhoods less desirable and fuel-sipping ones more desirable. We’re starting to see that pattern now.

Today’s top news story on Sightline Daily’s news page describes the way the subprime mortgage crisis is slamming suburban real estate. A similar story ran earlier in the Atlantic Monthly, as Kristin pointed out in today’s editor’s note.

Meanwhile, in Seattle at least, property values are holding strongest in the ring of walkable neighborhoods circling downtown, as the Seattle PI reports.

Reporter Aubrey Cohen notes a shift among buyers toward walkable neighborhoods:

“Many prospective buyers say they want “walking neighborhoods,” [real estate agent Stacey] Brower said. “They want to be able to get up on Saturday morning and walk to a coffee shop and get a paper, or walk to a restaurant on Friday night.”

“[Realtor Bob] Melvey also has noticed an increasing interest in walkability over the past five years, he said. “It’s really wanting to be walking distance to a sense of community.”