Why Zoning Increases House Prices

With just six percent of US land developed, zoning laws should reflect community needs, writes Samuel R. Staley.
December 19, 2005, 9am PST | Chris Steins | @urbaninsight
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When we talk about the sky-rocketing housing prices of the last few years, we usually focus on mortgage rates, investor speculation, and high demand driven by local economic growth. But we often overlook a primary culprit behind rising prices â€" zoning laws.

...Restrictive zoning hits the housing market it two ways: It increases costs by adding to delays in approvals, and it reduces the number of homes built to satisfy demand. Economists Christopher Mayer and Tsueriel Somerville found that adding just three months of delay to the approval process could reduce new housing construction by 45 percent. But zoning and conventional land-use planning has an even more destructive impact. The prevent communities from changing to naturally meet new needs and community concerns."

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Published on Monday, December 12, 2005 in Reason Foundation
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