Friday, July 9, 2021

Antiquated Zoning Laws Are Worsening the Housing Crisis

by STEVEN GREENHUT, Reason - We've all seen the news stories about the nation's insanely overheated housing market, as bidding wars have become the new normal. Prices have hit record levels and in some markets they have increased 20 percent since the beginning of the pandemic. ...  Unlike markets for consumer goods, government permitting and land-use regulations depress housing supply. ....  If a proposal reduces government regulations and allows more housing construction, I'm for it. If it does the reverse, I'm against it. That's why I support efforts to allow the construction of multi-family housing in areas that are now zoned only for single-family homes. Despite the misconception, that change doesn't ban single-family homes, but also allows duplexes and condos. 

 Unfortunately, the housing debate is tied up in the nation's cultural grudge match. To some commentators, efforts to reduce government regulation in the housing area amount to a liberal plot to destroy our God-given right to a lawn and picket fence. ...  Tucker Carlson portrayed efforts to loosen up zoning laws as an attempt to "eliminate suburbs" and "destroy the lives of people who live in nice places." .... Southern cities used zoning and freeway construction precisely to segregate African Americans. Instead of stirring up resentment, conservatives could note that the era's progressives devised many of these rules. ....  They think that building $700,000-per-unit subsidized "affordable" housing projects is the best way to help lower-income people find better housing—rather than allowing the market to work its magic. 

... Voters shouldn't decide what others do on their property. ... The goal should be to reduce regulations across the board, so builders can more easily respond to market demand by building whatever consumers want to buy. Defending antiquated zoning laws will not accomplish that objective, for the same reason government control of any product or service only distorts the supply and demand process. (Read the full article at this link

Rod's Comment: I agree with the arguments of this article. For more of my views regarding the issue of affordable housing, see the following:
The dream of homeownership is becoming more elusive by the day

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