In New York, lawmakers are currently debating a compromise between New York City and upstate interests to change the policies that shape residents' housing costs. New York City lawmakers are fighting for an extension and expansion of current rent control laws, while Governor Cuomo wants to tie this … [Read more...]
Irrational, or responsive to incentives?
In the Washington Post Brad Plumer editorializes on the choice of many Americans to accept longer commutes by car in exchange for larger homes far from their workplaces. He says that consumers are unable to accurately calculate the cost of their commutes, including time spent driving, leading them … [Read more...]
Clear case of the damages inherent in policy uncertainty
Current policy evolution in Los Gatos, CA demonstrates the power that urban planners have to alter property rights. The Silicon Valley municipality is currently debating whether or not to upzone a parcel where a developer would like to build 550,000 square feet of office space, replacing 250,000 … [Read more...]
Affordable Housing for the Rich and the Failure of Zoning Bonuses
In the past I have not been kind to affordable housing programs. I have a lot of deeper problems with them that I'll get to in a minute, but I think the extraordinarily high upper income limits on some of the projects are indicative of the broader problem of the essentially arbitrary and random … [Read more...]
When “affordable housing” is just a random middle class housing subsidy
Affordable housing and inclusionary zoning are complicated subjects and it's hard to sum up all my thoughts and objections to the schemes in one post, so I'm going to take the death-by-a-thousand-cuts approach. Today's installment: income eligibility levels.Now, the stated intent of affordable … [Read more...]
A question for the blogosphere: How much affordable housing is enough?
Reading about a new ultra-luxury Far West Side rental project going up where over 40% of the apartments are going to have controlled rents ("affordable housing"), I'd like to pose a question to supporters of affordable housing mandates in the planning blogosphere (which includes pretty much the … [Read more...]
Obama administration pushing dissolution of Fannie and Fredie
Big news out of Washington: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – which many (including me) think were at the heart of the financial collapse, and currently have some stake in the vast majority of post-crash mortgages – may be getting wound down soon. This NYT is reporting that the Obama administration may … [Read more...]
Why I don’t like Inclusionary Zoning
Inclusionary zoning is a hot item among urban planners today, and is often seen as a solution to residential segregation and high housing costs. Exact implementations vary, but the general idea is that developers of multi-unit housing projects are encouraged to set aside a certain percentage of … [Read more...]