Interest in urban living is on the rise, according to a Coldwell Banker survey of its sales associates in urban markets around the United States, and it's all because of rising gasoline prices. Seventy-eight percent of those surveyed say that higher fuel costs are driving their clients to consider living in cities, while 96% say gas and oil costs are a concern.

Urban living is much more appealing to many home buyers looking to cut the amount of time and money they spend on commuting to work, according to 81% of surveyed sales associates. Access to energy-efficient modes of public transportation also appeals to clients, according to 54% of survey respondents; 75% say the option to walk to more places also is a positive aspect of urban living.

Telecommuting is an attractive option for many prospective home buyers, as well. The survey indicates that sales associates have seen an 84% spike in interest in properties with a home office in the past five years.

This is not such surprising news, given the current economic climate. There have been many reports from around the country of families giving up their suburban dreams and moving closer to cities to save on commuting costs. Several news outlets have covered the phenomenon, including The New York Times (subscription required) and Reuters.

Whether the dire predictions of abandoned suburban neighborhoods will actually come to pass or not, the Coldwell Banker survey shows home purchasers are looking for shorter, less costly commutes than they currently make from the suburbs.