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Housing and the Growth of the Sun Belt

Recent figures from the U.S. Census Bureau show big growth in the Sun Belt of the Southwest. This piece from <em>The New York Times</em> looks into why.
December 30, 2010, 6am PST | Nate Berg
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Though many would assume economic opportunities are luring people to growing states like Texas, Arizona and Georgia, it's actually those states' housing supplies and policies that are creating the growth.

"Low incomes and productivity in the growing states of the Sun Belt strongly suggest that their expansion is not driven by outsize economic success.

Perhaps, sunshine really is behind Sun Belt growth. A superb climate is surely part of the appeal of Silicon Valley and Los Angeles, but what about fast-growing Houston, which has 99 days a year with the temperature above 90 degrees?

The economists' creed that free lunches are rare does appear to apply to cities as well as stocks. If a place is pleasant, you end up paying for it, especially in the form of higher housing prices. That logic explains why the median sales price for a home in the San Jose area was $630,000 in the third quarter of 2010."

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Published on Tuesday, December 28, 2010 in The New York Times
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