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The Suburbs have a new apologist !

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The Suburbs have a new apologist !

Let's count the ways he has it wrong



(this article seems designed to enrage those fighting the waste inherent in the "suburban living arrangement")


Don't Regulate the Suburbs: America Needs a Housing Policy That Works

by Wendell Cox and Ronald D. Utt, Ph.D.

Backgrounder #2247


Despite the many accolades for President Barack Obama's swift action on a major economic stimulus package, an outline of a comprehensive financial rescue package, and his most recent proposal for another bailout for homeowners who might not meet their mortgage payments, a growing number of critics and global investors have questioned the effectiveness of these measures in helping to put the economy back on a path to faster growth.


Specifically, the costly stimulus plan is little more than a grab bag of congressional policy obsessions that other Presidents suppressed in the past;


the financial rescue plan is a jumble of confused generalities;

(true enough)

and, as currently proposed, the President's troubled homeowner relief program would further undermine any remaining notions of personal financial responsibility by requiring taxpayers who paid their bills to subsidize the many homeowners who didn't.

(yep! - but that doesnt mean the rest of your article is wise!)


One of the chief failings of these programs is that they focus on symptoms, not causes. Nowhere among the host of initiatives is there any attempt to address the several underlying causes that undermined the stability of the housing finance market

(okay. what are they?)

and the ability of ordinary American families to acquire affordable housing.

(hmm. you begin to reveal yourself.

What makes you think that all American families have the ability to acquire housing?)


Indeed, based on President Obama's initial pronouncements on the issue, his Administration seems intent on exacerbating some of these causes by diminishing freedom of choice

(sure, but "choosing the suburbs", has created the US oil addiction)

and making housing even less affordable. In turn, these policies will substantially slow the process of recovery in homebuilding and housing finance.

(Okay. But there are larger goals, than that)


The President Takes on the Suburbs


In a mid-February speech in Florida to sell his stimulus plan to Americans, President Obama used the forum as an opportunity to express his support for more public transit (trolleys and buses) and linked this preference to a need to deter Americans' number one housing preference: living in the suburbs. The President argued that:


I would like for us to invest in mass transit because potentially that's energy efficient. And I think people are a lot more open now to thinking regionally, in terms of how we plan our transportation infrastructure. The days where we're just building sprawl forever, those days are over. I think that Republicans, Democrats, everybody recognizes that that's not a smart way to design communities.[1]


The "smart way," as the President suggests, is supposedly through the policies of "smart growth" and "new urbanism," which many communities in America have adopted in recent years to limit growth and upgrade their demographics by making housing less affordable. Under the guise of deterring sprawl—i.e., preventing additional neighbors— many suburban communities have adopted exclusionary zoning, impact fees, involuntary proffers, mandatory amenities, growth boundaries, service districts, infrastructure concurrency, and large-lot zoning to discourage new construction. Inevitably, these strategies raise housing prices.

(So "affordable housing" is your sole goal, is it?)


(BODY - see link, below)




As housing-price trends in the U.S. over the past decade reveal, the intensity of a region's land-use regulations is a key factor in the region's relative house-price inflation, affordability, and recent foreclosure experience.

(Let's see, when I read the BODY, if you back this up)

Areas with less land-use regulation consistently sustain housing prices that are affordable,

(Building without a larger goal, like minimising long term costs, and oil addiction,

could be cheaper, but the US needs to STOP thinking short term)

while regions with greater regulations consistently sustain prices that are unaffordable to the majority of the citizens living in the region.


A number of other English-speaking nations, notably the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland, have land-use regulations that are more intense than those generally in force in the U.S.—and even higher housing prices as a result.

(So what - They also have lower oil usage per capita, That may be a bigger goal)

In recent months, national and regional leaders in some of these overregulated countries have recognized the source of the problem and have announced a commitment to lessen the regulatory burden in order to reduce housing prices.

(Have they? There may be some danger in that)


In the United States, however, there is still little recognition of the connection been regulatory limitations and housing prices, and prospective initiatives currently under discussion are likely to leave houses in many states with still higher price tags. Indeed, in the event that President Obama's interest in smart growth policies leads to federal involvement in land-use regulation, housing affordability in the United States could soon approach the levels now common in the United Kingdom.


/more: http://www.heritage.org/Research/SmartGrowth/bg2247.cfm


== ==


I will read it carefully, to see if the arguments have merit.


The writer seems to understand nothing of cycles, speculaive excess, and out-of-control lending.

It is dim-witted, and blind thinking like that that got us into the mess the US and UK is in

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He doesnt think much of the UK !


Under Demographia's housing affordability taxonomy, urban areas with a median multiple of 3.0 or less are considered "affordable," places with a median multiple between 3.1 and 4.0 are considered "moderately unaffordable," those between 4.1 and 5.0 are rated "seriously unaffordable," and those with median multiples above 5.1 are rated "severely unaffordable." Of the 265 urban areas included in the 2009 Demographia study,[16] which covers the United States, Ireland, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and Australia, not a single British urban area managed to make it into the "affordable" or "moderately unaffordable" categories, which included 161 of the 265 areas covered in the report, all of which were located in the United States and Canada.


Of the 16 United Kingdom urban areas covered in the report, six were rated "seriously unaffordable" in 2007, and 10 were rated "severely unaffordable" and had median multiples that were nearly as high as those of most of the coastal California metropolitan areas. Included among the severely unaffordable areas (and measuring them at their price peaks in 2007) were Belfast (8.8); Exeter/Devon (8.2); London (7.7); and Bristol/Bath (6.9). The most affordable British area was Dundee with a median multiple of 4.4, comparable to Daytona Beach in high-cost Florida.

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