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Gentrification: Still Possible in a Down Market?

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In a round-table discussion about gentrification in a down market, asks a series of real estate experts to weigh in on what's next in terms of real estate. Notes the moderator: "....Now even the scuzziest blocks are expensive. In the classic gentrification, it starts with artists and urban pioneers swooping in to buy housing on the cheap and hoping they'll be seeing huge appreciation later. Is that really possible anymore?" Some of the highlights from the story below--these are the thoughts and musings of the panelists.
---Case against gentrification: Now commute trumps living in edgy, hipster neighborhoods. Home owners want to be closer to their work to reduce commute times, so moving to a gentrifying neighborhoods isn't as important as it used to be.
---Gentrification was really just a demographic growth toward the center city and with the loss of those jobs, gentrification will slow down.
---An example of the dark side of gentrification: When a neighborhood completely loses its local flavor and becomes totally Starbucks-ized. Mentioned: Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, which used to be "an "eclectic mix of local retailers" and is now "corporatized nightmare."
--Local government continues to be important, but damn the local governments are all poor now. "We tend to forget how important it is for local governments to support gentrification with new infrastructure and the like. Long Beach has tried to revive its downtown in this way. I worry it's too late. And now so many local governments are under pressure."
---Where's left to buy and is still gentrifying? "Oakland is a great play right now." It's too late for Venice--that neighborhood is past the point of gentrification.
--But many of the panelists believe gentrification will still happen.
· Real Estate: The End Of Gentrification? []