Housing Bust Puts Brakes on Decades of Suburban Sprawl

The Associated Press



WASHINGTON -- Stung by high gasoline costs, outlying suburbs that sprouted in the heady 2000s are now seeing their growth fizzle to historic lows, halting American city dwellers' decades-long exodus to sprawling homes in distant towns.

New census estimates as of July 2011 highlight a shift in population trends, following an extended housing bust and renewed spike in oil prices. Two years after the recession technically ended, and despite faint signs of a rebound, Americans again are shunning moves at record levels and staying put in big cities.

That is posing longer-term consequences for residential "exurbs" on the edge of metropolitan areas.