Worried about affordable housing?

Try allowing some development.

Here is an article describing how some residents in Queens are worried about their neighborhood becoming "unaffordable."

But it is often the very same people who fight tooth and nail against any high-rise development in their neighborhood.

If you want to keep a neighborhood affordable for the old residents in the face of newcomers desire to move there, you only have three choices that I can see:

1) Simply forbid people from moving where they want. That is obviously incompatible with being a liberal democracy.

2) Institute widespread rent control, with the usual bad results.

3) Allow new housing to go up to accommodate the newcomers, which, if built in sufficient quantity, will keep prices (and thus rents) down on the older housing stock. Once you add in the environmental advantages of dense urban dwelling, this even more so should be the preferred solution.

Of course, the owners in the neighborhood often hate 3, because it cuts into their profits from renting or selling.

The real problem is not the newcomers, but the rent-seeking of the current property owners.

1 comment:

  1. "Institute widespread rent control, with the usual bad results."

    Could you explain this? I've heard the term "rent control" before, but I don't know entirely what it means. I mean, I guess I might be someone who is in favor of restricting certain prices from being charged or forbidding landlords from kicking out tenants without advanced notice.

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