Wendell Cox is at it again. In a new article on New Geography, Cox argues that Arthur Nelson's forecast of more multi-family housing demand -- and, by implication, practically every other housing researcher in the United States -- is all wrong. But in a response in California Planning & Development Report, Bill Fulton says Cox is once again substituting his own values for actual research and analysis.
Nelson based his projections largely on a series of public opinion surveys conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California and the National Association of Realtors. How did Cox reach his contrarian conclusion? By arguing you can figure out what people want by what they buy. And between 2000 and 2008, many more single-family homes were built – and therefore bought -- in Southern California than multi-family homes.
But does current supply really equal emerging demand in housing? Not really -- and especially not in California, where Cox has consistently argued that excessive government regulation has fouled up the market. So Cox has put himself in a bind: He says that market demand can be measured by what's being built, even though he's previously said that what's being built isn't a reflection of market demand.
Oh yes, and by the way -- Cox insists that if government would get out of the way, then developers would be free to lower densities to meet market demand. Yeah, right.