Housing

How Government Regulation Makes Housing Unafforable

For a 1,000 square foot apartment—smaller than many cities allow without expensive variance permit processes—a developer would need to charge at least $2,750 per month just to break even.

Sub-Prime Politicians and Mortgage Loans By People Buying Homes

Amid all the hand-wringing and finger-pointing as housing markets collapse, mortgage foreclosures skyrocket, and financial markets panic, there is very little attention being paid to the fundamental economic and political decisions that led to this mess. The growth in...

Recycled “Racism Gap” in the Mortgage Market

One of the things that happens when you get old is that what seems like news to others can look like a re-run of something you have already seen before. It is like watching an old movie for the fifth or sixth time. A headline in the September 14th issue of the New...

The Human Price of California’s Statist Housing Policies

They say time is money but a lot depends on whose time and whose money. For example, in California the San Mateo County Planning Commission has spent five years deciding what can and cannot be done with the site of an old racetrack that is no longer economically...

Housing Bubbles

The blazing-hot topic at suburban cocktail parties this spring is whether there's a bubble in the residential housing market. No wonder. In 2004, existing home prices rose faster than in any year since the 1970s. Some markets are going bonkers. Alexandria, Va., is up...

Housing Hurdles: The Solution?

Once, after giving a talk, I was confronted by a lady in the audience who asked what some people regard as the ultimate question: "What is YOUR solution?" "There are no solutions," I said. "There are only trade-offs." "The people DEMAND solutions!" she shot back...

Housing Hurdles in California

A new study shows that you need an income of about $104,000 to buy an average home on the San Francisco peninsula with a 20 percent down payment. Since the average price of a home in this area is more than half a million dollars, the 20 percent down payment itself...

Real Estate: Dangers of Homeowner’s Associations

I have warned many times of the dangers of homeowner's associations (HOA's). As I speak around the nation on the subject of "Sustainable Development," an environmental term intended to disguise the elimination of property rights, inevitably someone from the audience...

In Defense of Property Rights: The Effects of Zoning (Part 4 of 6)

In the months since the November 1993 zoning referendum, zoning advocates have launched a number of accusations against their opponents. Zoning opponents, pro-zoners said, were dishonest and unprincipled. They resorted to lies, misrepresentations and scare tactics to...

In Defense of Property Rights: The Nature of Zoning (Part 3 of 6)

The purpose of zoning, and its sole reason for existing, is to give government control over the use of all land within the community. While the rightful owner remains responsible for that property, the government will determine how that property is used. Under zoning,...

Zoning and the The “New” Property Rights

Last Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in the case of George Washington University v. District of Columbia, upholding the District's zoning restrictions on GW's land use. The case was by no means a landmark decision, yet the...

“Open Space” = Housing Ban

A black man waiting at a bus stop called to me as I was bicycling down the street: "You're the first black man I have seen over here in a long time." "It will be a long time before you see the next one," I said, and we both laughed. In a deeper sense, it was not...

An Old “New Vision” for “Affordable Housing”

Despite the fanfare of a televised speech at the National Press Club in Washington, a very old and hackneyed set of proposals was unveiled as a "new vision" for the creation of "affordable housing." The speech was by Richard Ravitch, co-chairman with former...

The “Rent Control” Housing Farce: Part II

Too many people who talk about a lack of "affordable housing" seem to think that this is something the government must build or subsidize. It never seems to occur to them that government activity is itself one of the biggest reasons for housing being unaffordable. Nor...

The “Rent Control” Housing Farce: Part I

A RECENTLY published housing study says: "San Francisco is one of the densest large cities in the U.S." That is true in both senses of the word "dense." Nowhere are San Franciscans more dense than when talking about housing -- especially that perennial will o' the...

Housing and Overpopulation: Shocked by the Obvious

The obvious makes headlines in California. Maybe this shows that a sense of reality or common sense is not something that can be taken for granted among Californians. A recent headline stretching across the top of the front page announced that "Population dwarfs...