News and Commentary
While the Federal government traditionally has little to do with zoning and land-use regulations, Nick Zaiac writes about the tools at HUD’s disposal to liberalize regulations that restrict housing construction, namely by requiring public housing agencies to plan for denser housing projects. Beyond HUD, the feds could streamline the production of infrastructure necessary to support more housing, addressing the concerns and headaches that can come with increasing urban density.
Reason‘s Christian Britschgi has an analysis of Kamala Harris’s newest housing proposal: down-payment assistance for those looking to borrow to purchase a home in historically redlined neighborhoods. If paired with, say, rolling back the power of Fannie and Freddie or totally eliminating the mortgage interest deduction, it wouldn’t be a bad idea. However, Britschi accurately points out that this idea, and Harris’s pitch, doubles-down on the idea that homeownership is an investment.
San Francisco, ground zero of the housing crisis debate (especially in California), has seen its homeless population increase by nearly 30% since 2017, Nearly 10,000 San Franciscans live without permanent housing.
Here’s something cool: 3D printed homes made by robots could allow the construction of smaller housing units (i.e. ADUs) cheaply and almost literally overnight. One of these robots in Russia was able to build a $10,000 house in under a day.
The Cato Institute’s Peter van Doren places an article arguing for a creative solution local governments can implement in the most recent issue of Regulation by Chris Elmendorf in the context of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary. Van Doren summarizes Elmendorf’s article, and praises Castro, Booker, and Warren for (mostly) avoiding the siren’s song of rent control and other heavy-handed regulations to keep housing prices low.
In Politico, Erick Trickey has a profile of the activists that made Minneapolis 2040, one of the most ambitious comprehensive plans in the country, possible.
The Boston Foundation has released a new report on the state of housing in Boston and the surrounding counties, and the story is a familiar one. Despite a booming economy, Boston and the surrounding areas have failed to construct sufficient amounts of housing, exacerbating already-existing racial segregation in the region and local control remains an obstacle to new construction.
A new paper from the Philadelphia Fed analyzes the effects of gentrification on those living in gentrifying neighborhoods. Contrary to the concerns of many, out-migration is relatively small with migrants made no worse off when they move. For those who stay, adults benefit from increasing property values and declines in crime rates, while children benefit from access to better opportunities in general, with those living in gentrifying areas more likely to to go to college. To better share the gains from gentrification, the authors recommend increasing supply in these gentrifying areas.