The Politics of Sky-High House Prices

In Reason magazine's Joel Miller examines the ways the government causes increases in the price of owning a home. He finds that permit delays "of six months can add nearly $7 per square foot to the price of a house.
July 10, 2006, 2pm PDT | Chris Steins | @urbaninsight
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"Examining 45 metropolitan areas around the country, Glaeser and Gyourko studied the time it takes builders to apply for and receive a permit for a 'modest-sized, single-family subdivision of less than fifty units.' They found that in the areas where zoning is strict and approvals are slow, the price goes up considerably. Permit lags of six months can add nearly $7 per square foot to the price of a house.

That's more than $10,000 added to the cost of a 1,500-square-foot home. Double that for a 12-month lag." Or how about environmental policies? One California developer had to pay mitigation fees of $3.8 million because there were 40 garter snakes on the land -- that's $93,950 per snake and a cost that gets passed along to homebuyers.

"Today's trendy regulations are affordable housing mandates. But as Miller reports, a Reason Foundation study found the Bay Area's attempts to provide affordable housing by requiring developers to sell a percentage of new homes at prices below market value have backfired, triggering significant decreases in new home construction and increasing the price of new homes by $22,000 to $44,000."

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Published on Monday, July 10, 2006 in Reason Magazine
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