Housing

Impact of California's Housing Prices on Construction Workers

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This report takes a close look at the impact of California’s very high residential prices on the ability of construction workers — the very people who build our homes — to afford to live within the markets where they are work.

It does so by reviewing the number of workers and pay scales in 50 different construction occupations. It distinguishes between pay levels for all construction workers and those who are in unions. The research separately studies Southern California and the San Francisco (SF) Bay Area since real estate markets are subject to very different forces depending upon their geographic location.  read more »

Escaping the Strait Jacket of "Place"

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We like to think of "place" as something positive, something that sets our patterns of living in a good way, but sometimes those patterns and forms become a strait jacket that keep our communities from evolving and growing. Sometimes you have to throw off that strait jacket, and Seattle, where 150,000 people have moved in the last 20 years, seems to be doing just that.  read more »

The City Of Dallas Needs A Homebuilding Boom To Ensure Economic Success

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While the North Texas economy is booming, the core city of Dallas faces challenges bedeviling other cities: a dwindling middle class, bifurcation into neighborhoods of haves and have-nots, and an emerging home affordability problem.  read more »

California's Message: You Built That, Now Get Out!

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The people who build our homes increasingly can no longer afford them. As the state elite and their academic cheering crew celebrate our progressive boom, even the most skilled, unionized construction workers, notes an upcoming study, cannot afford to live anywhere close to the state’s major job centers.  read more »

The State of Jefferson

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Last year a neighbor began flying a State of Jefferson flag on the side of his house that faces mine. I had no idea what it represented, so I looked it up. Short version: the 23 rural northern counties of California want to break away from the rest of the state so they can do their own thing.  read more »

Millennial Preferences: Not So Different

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Economists at the Federal Reserve Board have published exhaustive research on Millennial spending patterns and generally find that they are similar to those of other generations (See: “Are Millennials Different?,” by Christopher Kurz, Geng Li, and Daniel J. Vine). The research examines Consumer Expenditure (CE) Survey data and the conclusion is summarized by the authors:  read more »

Why Suburbs Need To Be The Next Frontier For Cities Policy

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“Around the world, the vast majority of people are moving to cities not to inhabit their centres but to suburbanise their peripheries. Thus when the United Nations projects the number of future ‘urban’ residents… these figures largely reflect the unprecedented suburban expansion of global cities.”  read more »

Direction of Dallas and Urban Growth

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Should the direction of Dallas urban growth continue to grow north? Does inserting low-income housing in North Dallas create an inclusive urban growth direction for Dallas? Does the direction of Dallas and its current goal of moving low-income wage earners closer to higher wage jobs in North Dallas increase or decrease wealth for low-income families? The SMU/George W. Bush Institute Conference, Policies to Promote Inclusive Urban Growth, was a meaningful conference on the direction of Dallas and cities and gave clues to all these questions.  read more »

Small-Town America Measures Up to Have Big-Time Potential for Economic Growth

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As American as baseball, hot dogs and apple pie, Main Street America - and its small towns - is a central component to understanding the economic forces at work across the United States. Dotting the U.S. map – in the Heartland and beyond – are 531 small towns, better known as micropolitan statistical areas, which comprise of one or more counties with at least one city with more than 10,000 but less than 50,000 in population.  read more »

Cities Point the Way in Promoting Opportunity and Reducing Poverty

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American cities are laboratories of democracy. Their differences in policies and economic patterns shed considerable light on the challenge of promoting upward mobility and alleviating poverty. 

As we have studied America’s top 60 metropolitan areas over the last several months, five – Minneapolis-St. Paul, Salt Lake City, Denver, Portland (Oregon), and Omaha – stand out for their success in delivering broad-based prosperity.  read more »