Land Use Regulations and Housing Prices

A new report from Harvard shows that Boston's housing affordability crisis is created fundamentally by regulation.
January 2, 2006, 5am PST | Chris Steins | @urbaninsight
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Housing prices in Eastern Massachusetts are higher than in all but a handful of other areas in the United States. Over the last 25 years, price increases in Eastern Massachusetts have been second only to one other region. In previous research, Edward L. Glaeser, a Harvard University economics professor, and his team have found that increasingly stringent land-use regulations are the primary cause of high housing prices in regions such as greater Boston.

The Pioneer Institute and the Rappaport Institute will release on January 5, 2006, a publicly accessible databases that details the full array of regulations that 187 communities use to shape residential development within their borders and analyzes whether and how local regulations have affected housing production and prices in the region.

From the article:

"The report, which is based on a two-year survey of land-use rules in the 187 cities and towns within 50 miles of Boston, points to locally mandated lot sizes as large as 2 acres and overly restrictive wetlands and septic rules as the most significant barriers to housing construction. It also cites local prohibitions on irregularly shaped lots and ''growth caps" limiting the number of units that can be built in a year. The survey did not include the city of Boston itself, where development is denser, or Cape Cod."

Thanks to Hugh Pavletich

Full Story:
Published on Sunday, January 1, 2006 in The Boston Globe
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