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Consumers aren't just buying more hybrid and high-miles-per-gallon vehicles, trip-linking to reduce drive times, carpooling and taking public transit more often to save on the rising cost of gasoline.

They are also taking a hard look at where to buy a home, in terms of how much it will cost them in gasoline.

According to a survey of more than 4,000 visitors to either HomePages.com or JustListed.com, 70 percent said rising gasoline prices are either "somewhat" or "very" important in terms of how they think about where they want to live. To nearly half, 45 percent, the issue was "very" important.

Only 30 percent said the issue was "not very important," "not important at all" or caused "no change" in their choice of location for housing.

The American Automobile Association says the national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline has risen from $2.12 a year ago to about $2.88 now, in line with the rising cost of crude and just a few cents short of the all-time high of about $3.06 set in September last year.

One fifth of the states in the union already have averages at or above $3 with the highest state averages in Hawaii, at $3.40 a gallon and California -- the nation's most populous state -- at $3.36 a gallon.

HomePages.com, offering aerial imagery and neighborhood information with listings, and JustListed.com, an email delivery system for home listings service are consumer websites offered by Kirkland, WA-based HouseValues.com, which offers free real estate agent-generated comparative market analysis-based estimates of homes' current market values.

In another question allowing multiple answers, "What factors are most important to you when choosing where to live?" 40 percent said "Short commute to work," 39 percent said "Close to good schools," 24 percent said "Close to parks, water or other recreation" and 74 percent said "Safe neighborhood," HomeValues.com reported.

HomeValues.com said last summer, Kelton Research asked the same question and found that only 9 percent of consumers thought a short commute was an important factor in choosing a new home.

Rising gas prices also appear to be contributing to a spike in consumers' reliance on information technology.

"As gas prices continue to increase week after week, a natural reaction is for consumers shopping for homes to do more of their homework online -- well before getting into a car to search for homes," Steve Murray, editor of Real Trends, a Littleton, CO-based real estate publication told HomeValues.com.

The high cost of motor fuel likely will boost interest in a housing choice that can help roll back the cost of gasoline, so-called transit-oriented development (TOD).

TODs are constructed near or with destinations and services commonly visited or used -- work, school, worship, retail, health care, transit, etc. -- to provide more transportation options including shorter drives, biking, walking and public transit.

The developments can also help a home buyer land a "Location Efficient Mortgage", or LEM.

Just as "Energy Efficient Mortgages (EEMs)" allow a home owner with a more energy-efficient home to spend more money on housing instead of energy, LEMs allow home owners to spend a greater percentage of their income on housing when they spend less on transportation.

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Gina's Avatar
Gina replied the topic: #14115
If this article thinks gas prices were high in 2006, I wonder what the author would write about gas prices in 2012? I wish we had 2006 gasoline prices today.
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