Housing

Housing Affordability from Vancouver to Sydney to Toronto: Time to Do What Works

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The front page of The Wall Street Journal cited the difficulty of cities (Note 1) trying to stop the escalation of house prices “Western Cities Try, and Fail, To Slow Chinese Home Buying.” The more descriptive online headline said: Western Cities Want to Slow Flood of Chinese Home Buying. Nothing Works: Governments from Vancouver to Sydney to Toronto are using taxes and other restrictions to tackle real-estate bubbles.  read more »

Suburb & Exurbs Dominate House Building Over Six Decades

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In recent years we have been using the City Sector Model (Figure 6, see City Sector Model Note below) to analyze the extent of urban core, suburban and exurban trends in major metropolitan areas. The City Sector Model gives a more accurate picture of how much modern metropolitan areas are dominated by the automobile oriented suburbanization that has occurred since World War II.  read more »

Growth In America Is Tilting To Smaller Cities

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We are often told that America’s future lies in our big cities. That may no longer be entirely true. Some of the strongest job creation and population growth is now occurring in cities of 1 million people or less.  read more »

The Urban Frontier Cabin

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The current conundrum for many people is simple. You might want to live in one of the expensive bubbles of economic and cultural vibrancy in order to access good paying jobs and upward mobility. But the cost of property and rent are insane. You could live in a radically less expensive part of the country where homes and rent are mercifully low, but not everyone longs for a tract home on the edge of Houston. I’ve argued for years that there are all sorts of cost effective towns and cities in the Midwest that are far better than many people assume.  read more »

Larger Metropolitan Areas Dominated by Suburban & Exurban Population

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Since 2014, the City Sector Model has been used to portray population trends by functional area within the 53 major metropolitan areas (major metropolitan areas). The current edition classifies small areas (zip code tabulation areas) by demographic factors into five categories (Figure 1). The first two are urban core (central business district and inner ring), while the last three are suburban or exurban.  read more »

Where Talent Wants To Live

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With unemployment down and wages rising, there’s growing concern that a lengthy and potentially crippling talent shortage will sweep the U.S. Addressing this could become a critical issue for businesses competing with Asian and European firms facing similar and, in many ways, more severe shortages.  read more »

Poverty is Worse than Sprawl: California's Housing Affordability Crisis

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Rent control supporters in California recently announced that they have enough signatures to qualify a state proposition to remove limitations on municipalities to control rents. Their purpose is to improve housing affordability in the nation’s most unaffordable state. However, should the proposition pass, the net effect is likely to be less new rental housing, as investors are likely to flee the market, as they routinely have before.  read more »

The Midwest Is Booming—Just Not Where You Think

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The Midwest is booming, but not where you might think. Kansas City, Minneapolis, Indianapolis, Columbus, Grand Rapids, and Des Moines are the fastest-growing cities in the Midwest—lapping bigger hubs like Detroit, Cleveland, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and even Chicago that are still suffering from stagnant economies and slow or even negative population growth.  read more »

Giving Common Sense a Chance in California

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In California, where Governor Jerry Brown celebrates “the coercive power of the state” and advocates “brainwashing” for the unanointed, victories against Leviathan are rare. Yet last week brought just such a triumph, as a legislative committee rejected an attempt by San Francisco state senator Scott Wiener to take zoning power away from localities in areas within a half-mile of a bus or train stop.  read more »

Neat, Plausible, and Wrong

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The Antiplanner is frequently reminded of H.L. Mencken’s statement that “there is always a well-known solution to every human problem: neat, plausible, and wrong.” Millennials, for example, blame baby boomers for ruining the world. Most of the mistakes that baby boomers made were in adopting simple and plausible but wrong solutions to complex problems.  read more »