Housing Trend to Watch: The ‘Surban’

Suburban and urban areas are combining to create a new kind of living style known as the “surban.” Many in the real estate industry are predicting it to be one of the hottest housing trends to watch heading into the new year.

A surban offers greater walkability to retail and restaurants from a home or apartment, but in a suburban area. It’s a blend of both suburbia and city life. Previously, urban planners dubbed these areas “mixed-use.”

Mill Creek Town Center, downtown Bothell  and Lake Union, headquarters of Amazon, are examples of a surban.

These spots tend to be anchored by highly rated schools, low crime rates, and shopping areas within walking distance. Surbans are dominated by several housing options, such as single-family residences, condos, and townhomes, explains Len Elder, an instructor at McKissock Learning and Superior School of Real Estate, in a recent article at RISMedia.

The Urban Land Institute estimates that surban areas will draw at least 80 percent of new households and attract the most families over the next decade.

Suburban downtowns are already growing nationwide. Surban developments may replace shopping centers, and more retail stores within walking distances of housing likely will morph into selling more experiences rather than merely just goods, Elder writes.

“For the most part, housing areas have historically been categorized based on single-family residences, townhomes, condominiums or multifamily buildings,” Elder notes. “The development and advancement of surban living have already begun blending housing options in a selected area. It will not be uncommon to find townhomes and condos mixed in with single-family residences. Ownership and rentals will exist in closer proximity to widen the retail base of the homes and provide an array of options for millennials.”

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