Saturday, January 07, 2006
Why is housing so expensive in some areas?
Why then are there particular places where housing costs have skyrocketed?
In those places, much of the land is prevented by law from being used to build housing. These land use restrictions are seldom called land use restrictions.
They are called by much prettier names, like "open space" laws, laws to "preserve farmland" or prevent "sprawl," "greenbelt" laws -- or whatever else will sell politically.
People who already own their own homes don't worry about whether such laws will drive housing prices sky high. Somebody else will have to pay those prices while existing homeowners see the value of their property rise by leaps and bounds.
To hear environmental zealots tell it, they are just trying to save the last few patches of greenery from being paved over. But in fact the land area of the United States covered by forests is more than three times as large as the land area covered by all the cities and towns across the nation.
Only about 5 percent of the land is urban. In other words, you could double the size of every city and town in America and still nine-tenths of the land would be undeveloped.
Some of the biggest hysteria about "saving" land is found in places where most of the land is already off-limits to building. Some of the biggest crocodile tears about a need to "preserve farmland" come from people who are not farmers, and who know little and care less about farming.
We can thank the federal and state governments for allowing bleeding heart liberals to create such unproductive and destructive policies.
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