Orlando Now Less Affordable than San Francisco

An analysis of housing affordability shows rising costs in America's smaller cities.

May 12, 2021, 5:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


The effects of the pandemic continue to roil the housing market, writes Justin Fox for Bloomberg, as expensive "superstar" cities lose some of their attractions and remote work makes it "easier to disconnect superstar-city jobs from superstar-city real estate prices."

To understand "the strains that the great pandemic migration may be putting on typical workers’ housing budgets in some of the places where people have been moving," Fox "compared the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ most recent estimates of median wages by metropolitan area (from May 2020) to Apartment List’s April 2021 metro-area rent estimates" to gauge housing affordability.

"By this measure, Orlando is less affordable than San Francisco, and Austin and Las Vegas less affordable than San Jose. They’re not more expensive in absolute terms, of course; someone moving from San Francisco or San Jose would still find all those places to be pretty cheap, especially if they were able to keep working at San Francisco or San Jose wages. But most people in Orlando and Austin and Las Vegas don’t have that option."

"Since the 1960s, the East and West Coasts (California in particular) have also experienced what economists Chang-Tai Hsieh of the University of Chicago and Enrico Moretti of the University California at Berkeley term a 'property rights revolution' of anti-development activism and regulation that’s made it even harder to build enough new housing to satisfy demand." The same NIMBY impulses have surfaced in "smaller, even more scenic metro and micro areas such as Boulder, Colorado; Bozeman, Montana; and Bend, Oregon," says Fox. In these towns, "the combination of mountains, rising opposition to development and high demand have driven home-purchase prices up to or past the levels of metro Boston and New York."

Fox's findings show that the most affordable cities are in the South and Midwest and include "iconic cities that fell on hard times but have been making a comeback" like Detroit and "places [that] are already magnets for skilled younger workers" like Pittsburgh and Indianapolis.

Thursday, May 6, 2021 in Bloomberg Opinion

Indian Trail, North Carolina

Four ‘Low-Hanging Fruit’ Zoning Reforms

An excerpt from the latest book on zoning argues for four approaches to reform that can immediately improve land use regulation in the United States.

June 26, 2022 - M. Nolan Gray

Car Traffic

San Francisco Just Ended Single-Family Zoning

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted to Tuesday to eliminate single-family zoning, but pro-development advocates say additional changes are needed to unleash a wave of construction.

June 29, 2022 - San Francisco Chronicle

Rent

U.S. Rental Market Crosses a New Threshold of Affordability

In a first for the country's rental market, most U.S. apartments are asking for more than $2,000 to rent, according to data recently published by Redfin.

June 21, 2022 - Redfin

New Jersey Power Plant

Supreme Court Guts the U.S. EPA’s Ability to Limit Carbon Emissions

The consequences of this ruling have long been foretold. With the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency now officially barred from the fight against climate change, Congress will have to act to reduce carbon emissions.

June 30 - Yahoo News

Central Los Angeles

California Approves Revised Los Angeles Housing Element

State officials officially approved the city’s housing plan, which was initially rejected for not doing enough to enhance housing equity.

June 30 - Urbanize LA

A fly fisher casts on a fog-covered river.

Lawsuit Could Open Public Access to Colorado Rivers

Colorado is one of few U.S. states that has decided that private property owners supersede the public when it comes to access to rivers and streams.

June 30 - High Country News

New Updates on The Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

International Real Estate Strategies and Deal Negotiation

Harvard Graduate School of Design Executive Education

Affordable Housing: Principles for Changing Domestic and Global Markets

Harvard Graduate School of Design Executive Education

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.