With gas prices over $3 a gallon, drivers are changing their driving habits. Those who already live in car-dependent areas are locked in to driving and have few alternatives beyond carpooling and buying more fuel-efficient cars, but in the housing market, it’s clear people are choosing their communities with the new costs of driving in mind. Speculators out in the exurbs are hurting, but New Urban developments are doing better, as is infill in already dense areas, such as Washington, DC:

In close-in, high-density Arlington, Virginia, which is served by Metro rail, prices in mid-2007 were up 20 percent from a year earlier, according to [Patrick] Phillips [of Economics Research Associates]. DC itself was up 5 percent, Phillips said, whereas most other jurisdictions in the region slipped. … CityVista, in the Mt. Vernon Triangle neighborhood in Washington, came on the market just as the downturn was taking hold, and contrary to what many market-watchers expected, it ‘is performing above pro-forma,’ Phillips said.

Todd Zimmerman of Zimmerman/Volk Associates [said] … ‘Urban and transit-oriented suburban locations are holding up quite nicely. Exurban and ‘drive ‘til you qualify’ locations, where housing is treated as a commodity, are not.’

David Alpert is Founder and President of Greater Greater Washington and Executive Director of DC Sustainable Transportation (DCST). He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle. Unless otherwise noted, opinions in his GGWash posts are his and not the official views of GGWash or DCST.