The housing sector is picking up but recovery is being thwarted by a shortage of lots in desirable locations, reports the Wall Street Journal. No commentary is needed. The article says it all:
Today many [the available] lots remain empty. They often are in distant suburbs of cities and still owned by banks, builders or developers. The problem is that they are in places where few home buyers want to live. …
The Atlanta metropolitan area has about 120,000 vacant lots ready for building, some as far as 70 miles from the city’s downtown, according to the real-estate consultancy Metrostudy Inc.
“A lot of the demand during the boom was speculative demand, not real user demand, and speculative demand was blind to location,” said Brad Hunter, Metrostudy’s chief economis. “Real demand is now concentrated in those core counties.” …
“Of all the lots out there, probably 95% of them are unbuildable,” said Patrick Malloy, and Atlanta-area homebuilder. Mr. Malloy said home prices are recovering — but only in the city and nearby suburbs, starting in the established affluent neighborhood of Buckhead and going north.
Much farther outside Atlanta, the sales prices for homes are less than what the sticks and bricks cost,” Mr. Malloy said.