Why Affordable Housing Is So Hard To Find In America’s Big Cities

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Few things better illustrate the dynamic of government intervention > unintended (but predictable) consequences of government intervention > further government intervention to mitigate these consequences…(ad infinitum) than housing.

Across the United States, it is frequently said that a lack of "affordable housing" is a problem. Predictably, this observation is usually followed by the demand that the government—local, state, or federal—"do something" about it. That "something" almost always involves spending more money or issuing a new raft of regulations.

Big Government "Solutions"

California is a case in point. In San Francisco, for example, the median cost of a single-family home is already five times the US average, and the city now has the highest rent per square foot of any municipality in the nation. To deal with these high prices, Democrats in California’s state legislature want to revive a community renovation program that would bring back redevelopment agencies and the roughly $1 billion they provided annually for affordable housing. The program was previously cut in 2011 by then-Gov. Jerry Brown when the legislature was intent on closing a huge budget hole. Now, Democrats believe their proposal will get a boost from the support of the state’s new governor, Gavin Newsom.

Far away from sunny California, the same story could be told about Minnesota. In April 2017, the Pioneer Press wrote:

Outside coastal states like New York and California, the Twin Cities was No. 1 in housing costs among the nation’s 20 largest metro areas, according to 2014 U.S. Census data. And they have remained at or near the top of other cost-comparison surveys since then. Statewide, Twin Citians pay an average of 26 percent more than neighboring states. That price gap explodes when compared with southern states like Texas.

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Gary Anderson 1 year ago Contributor's comment

Now, not wasting energy is just utopia? I disagree. But big biz often locates in the heart of high prices because that is where the skilled workers are, making it worse.