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Density Will Not Make Housing Affordable
“not only does intensification within a regulatory boundary "not restore affordability", it seems that the more density you “allow”, the higher your average housing unit price gets. The correlation runs the opposite way to the assumption.” http://www.newgeography.com/content/005402-why-intensification-will-not-solve-housing-affordability-crisis
Hong Kong is 2.5 times as built "up" as Manhattan is, yet Hong Kong is even more expensive per unit than Manhattan. And generally, the data runs in that direction - not only does intensification within a regulatory boundary "not restore affordability", it seems that the more density you “allow”, the higher your average housing unit price gets. The correlation runs the opposite way to the assumption. At the other end of the data set for cities globally, are very rapidly-sprawling cities like Atlanta where the density is around 1/40th of Hong Kong and the average section size is 2/3 of an acre; yet the real per-unit housing price on average is 1/5 of Hong Kong. Obviously. http://makingnewzealand.wixsite.com/home-site/single-post/2016/09/01/The-Myth-of-Affordable-Intensification
It is a terrible mistake to be confusing ALL zoning rules with the single true determinant of inequity in housing and economic mobility.
That is, can rural land at rural land prices, be converted to urban use?
This suppresses the price of all urban land to the extent that it is such a small input into “housing costs” relative to the cost of structures, it is very hard to push “house prices” up into unaffordable territory. http://www.newgeography.com/content/005428-zoning-and-urban-containment-the-need-clarity
Density has a major effect on another variable: housing prices. A paper by Issi Romem of Buildzoom.com points out, no city has been able to contain itself within urban limits and, within those limits, built enough dense housing to keep housing affordable. Dense housing is simply more expensive than low-density housing: the land is more expensive, construction is more expensive, and labor in more expensive housing markets is more expensive. Basically, he concludes, regions have a choice between becoming more expensive or more expansive.
No matter how often urban planners chant, “grow up, not out,” the fact is that no urban area in the nation has ever made housing more affordable by increasing its density. In fact, as the chart above shows, there is a clear correlation between density and housing unaffordability.
Every major city in America except Houston has local zoning, yet only those cities that have growth constraints have become unaffordable. https://www.cato.org/blog/more-housing-regulation-wont-make-housing-affordable
There is virtually no research that suggests that intensification has restored middle-income housing affordability at the metropolitan area level. In fact, the evidence from 13 years of the Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey is that metropolitan areas that have reached severely unaffordable median multiples have not been restored to affordability. For example, in 2016, Vancouver’s median multiple reached 11.8, well above its level of 4.0 before urban containment policy. Similarly, Toronto’s price to income ratio is 7.7, more than double its 3.5 in 2000, before implementation of urban containment policy.77
Thus, there are enormous barriers to improving middle-income housing affordability across metropolitan areas through intensification. Cox Restrictive LU Regs.pdf
Link to this page: Density Will Not Make Housing Affordable
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