News and Commentary
Jenny Schuetz and Cecile Murry have a great post on the need for California to build more housing units…a lot of them. Not only are apartment buildings (more specifically, the land on which it is legal to build them) in short supply, but it is the wealthiest, most job- and opportunity-rich areas that are most delinquent on meeting their housing needs.
Here’s one potential unintended consequence of the 2017 TCJA’s reduction in the corporate tax rate. Kate Irby in The Sacramento Bee writes that by reducing the tax rate, it reduced the value of the low-income housing tax credit for corporations, costing over 10,000 low-income housing units. While this is interesting food for thought, the high costs of constructing housing (thanks to zoning and, more importantly, the permitting process) has a much larger role to play than this one side-effect of TCJA.
An op-ed by Steven Pedigo and Alisa Pyszka in Governing makes a crucial point about the political economy of housing development in urban areas: private developers are a solution, not a hinderance, to more affordable housing. While “but developers will profit!!!” is an easy way to engage the anti-market sentiments of more left-leaning NIMBYs, we must remember that developers (1) build more housing, helping the supply problem and (2) just because someone profits from something doesn’t mean they aren’t providing a valuable service.
An article by Joel Kotkin and Wendell Cox give a familiar defense of single-family housing and homeownership in City Journal. Are there benefits to homeownership? Of course! But the authors confuse the need for denser development (which requires an end to the American love affair with detached houses and an embrace of denser living arrangements) with an outright hostility to homeownership in general.