Bringing Down Housing Prices in the Bay Area

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On Sunday the New York Times ran a story on the difficulties of building new housing in California, focusing on the city of Berkeley. There’s a lot of good in the piece, including the insane difficulties of getting approvals to build even when you propose something in keeping with the existing zoning.  read more »

The Urban Revival Is an Urban Myth, and the Suburbs Are Surging

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The past decade has seen a gusher of books arguing for and detailing the supposed ascendency of dense urban cores, like the inimitable Edward Glaeser’s influential Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier, and about the ‘burbs as the slums of the future, abandoned by businesses and young people, like Leigh Gallagher’s  read more »

COU Standard of Living Index 2017 – 2nd Annual Edition


In this policy brief, The COU Standard of Living Index, COU provides cost of living estimates for new entrants to metropolitan markets, including prospective home buyers as well as renters. See the report to understand the detailed criteria used to create the standard of living index.  read more »

The Price of Texas Growth: Housing Affordability


The strong recovery from the Great Recession, fueled by the shale oil boom, propelled the demand for single-family homes in Texas. Homebuilders have been unable to keep pace with increasing demand. Supply is limited by the availability of land and labor constraints, pushing up home prices.  read more »


Houston Market HOUSTON HOUSING 3Q17: Impact of Harvey Strongest in the Resale Market; New Home Sales Should Surge in 2018


•  Houston’s new home market and general economic conditions cannot be discussed without touching on the impacts of Hurricane Harvey, which damaged 167,000 single family homes throughout the Greater Houston Area.  read more »


One In Five L.A. Community College Students Have Experienced Homelessness


One would not usually associate homelessness with college students but in the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) about one in every five students has experienced homelessness, according to the LACCD Report on Survey of Student Basic Needs.  read more »

Severely Unaffordable Housing and Traffic Driving Households from Sydney


Recent stories have detailed the strong net domestic migration out of Sydney, Australia's largest city (metropolitan area). A well covered report by economist Callam Pickering has noted strong interest by STEM workers (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) workers in leaving the area (see here and here). Pickering cites high housing costs as a cause, while social researcher Mark McCrindle agrees and notes that "Sydney has the longest capital city commuting times in Australia."  read more »

The Future of America’s Suburbs Looks Infinite


Just a decade ago, in the midst of the financial crisis, suburbia’s future seemed perilous, with experts claiming that many suburban tracks were about to become “the next slums.” The head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development proclaimed that “sprawl” was now doomed, and people were “headed back to the city.”  read more »

Orange County’s Low Hanging Fruit


There are things that we can do as a society to work through our big structural difficulties at an institutional level. And there are other things that can be done independently at the household level by individuals. I don’t have the technical skills, political skills, social skills, credentials, patience, or desire to engage the large scale systems. To be honest, I don’t think most people do. But there are all sorts of things that ordinary people can and should do on their own that can make a huge difference on the ground at room temperature.  read more »

SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA HOUSING 3Q17: Affordability Limits Continue to be Tested; Average Prices Hit Record Levels


• Annualized new home starts in 3Q17 are up 2.5% compared to 3Q16, while closings are up 1.7%. Quarterly new home starts were up 31% while closings are down 4% compared to 3Q16.

• The average base price for new Single Family detached homes is up 17% YoY to a Metrostudy record, $1.03M; the average price for Attached homes is $905K, an increase of 5%.  read more »