Excerpt Of The Day: Sowell Explains Skyrocketing Housing Costs

“…Despite hysteria over high home prices, in most parts of the United States housing is quite affordable. But in some places housing prices are astronomical — three times the national average in much of California, for example.

…Why then are there particular places where housing costs have skyrocketed?

In those places, much of the land is prevented by law from being used to build housing. These land use restrictions are seldom called land use restrictions.

They are called by much prettier names, like “open space” laws, laws to “preserve farmland” or prevent “sprawl,” “greenbelt” laws — or whatever else will sell politically.

People who already own their own homes don’t worry about whether such laws will drive housing prices sky high. Somebody else will have to pay those prices while existing homeowners see the value of their property rise by leaps and bounds.

Meanwhile, land that might otherwise provide homes for others becomes in effect free park land for themselves, while such upscale communities use “open space” laws to keep out the masses. The crowning touch is that such self-interest is depicted as idealism.” — Thomas Sowell

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