What to Do About Gang Violence in Salinas California

Is there any connection between the fact that Salinas has the gang problem that it does, and the fact that Monterey County's restrictions on the building of housing are very strict?  read more »

Things Aren't that Bad in Saginaw

Our 8th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey included the Saginaw, Michigan metropolitan area, which we noted had the lowest Median Multiple (median house price divided by median household income) among the included 325 metropolitan areas. This made Saginaw the most affordable metropolitan market, principally due to depressed economic conditions.  read more »

Why Housing is So Expensive in Metropolitan Washington

Anyone familiar with housing affordability in the Washington (DC-VA-MD-WV) metropolitan area is aware that prices have risen strongly relative to incomes in the last decade.

However, a recent Washington Post commentary by Roger K. Lewis both exaggerates the contribution of higher construction costs and misses the principal factor that has driven up the price of housing: more restrictive land-use regulations.  read more »

How Phoenix Housing Boomed and Busted

When analysing the US housing bubble, four states stand-out for the way in which home values rose into the stratosphere before crashing and burning: California, Nevada, Florida and Arizona (see below chart).  read more »

Housing Bottom? Not Yet.

Weakness in housing activity and in housing prices continues to be a major drag on the overall economy. My colleagues at California Lutheran University's Center for Economic Research and Forecasting have long maintained that the home ownership rate (HOR) needs to fall back to its historical norm of 64% before housing can recover. Their view has been that the attempt to increase the HOR by loosening credit standards contributed to creating financial instability.  read more »

Australia Central Banker: Higher House Prices a "Social Problem"

Glenn Stevens, the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia expressed concern about the growing gap in housing affordability in the nation to a parliamentary committee on Friday. Stevens raised questions about the cost and supply of housing, asking:

"How is it that we can't add to the dwelling stock for the marginal new entrant more cheaply than we seem to be able to do," he asked.  read more »

New Zealand Leader Focuses on Association between High House Prices and Growth Management

ACT Party leader Donald Brash, who served from 1988 to 2002 as the Governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (similar in function to the Federal Reserve Board) has noted the poor housing affordability in New Zealand and its connection to growth management policies (called by various names, such as "smart growth," "growth management," "compact cities," "densification" "prescriptive land use regulation" and "urban consolidation").

In an August 25 speech Brash said:  read more »

Land Use Regulation Blamed for High Hong Kong House Prices

The Wall Street Journal  reports that growing concern about Hong Kong's high house prices has led the special administrative region's Chief Executive Donald Tsang to promise an overhaul of housing and land use policies in the fall.       read more »

Adelaide Land Prices Top Sydney

The median price of serviced (improved) lots for new houses in Adelaide is reported to have risen above that of far larger Sydney by the Housing Industry Association of South Australia. Housing Industry Association of South Australian Executive Director Robert Harding attributed the high price of land to government policies that have limited the supply of land available for building.  read more »

Home Ownership and the American Dream

What defines the American Dream? A new poll by Big Builder reveals that one answer to this enduring question may be home ownership. A major portion of the American population (59%) believes that they are living the American Dream. Respondents distinguished owning a home as the second most important factor of the American Dream, just behind raising a family.  read more »