From a city’s economic engine to the center of political and administrative power. From cultural heart and nightlife hotspot to dilapidated buildings and high crime rates. From opulent penthouse suites to derelict homes. The downtowns of American cities, both big and small, have always been dynamic places that shifted with the times.
From the early days when a city center held the majority of a city’s dwelling units, its primary markets, as well as civic functions such as trials and even an occasional public execution, to the shift towards urban cores of office complexes, full of life during the day, but empty at night, from the white flight to suburbs of decades past, to the current downtown gentrification, the role and importance of downtowns has ebbed and flowed through time.
A decade after the worst financial crisis in living memory, we decided to take a look at price evolution of American downtowns. Analyzing a decades’ worth of home prices in 34 of the largest cities in the country plus Manhattan and Brooklyn, we compared their median sale prices to that of their downtowns, as well as the evolution of these indicators from 2008 to 2018 to see if it really is that much more expensive to live downtown.
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