What liberals hath wrought: Unaffordable housing
Here’s news that will surprise only liberals: In affluent metro housing markets distorted by liberals’ housing policies, housing is less affordable — even for middle-class families whose incomes are higher in such cities.
The Atlantic reports that Jed Kolko, chief economist for real estate website Trulia, found that in the 20 richest U.S. metro areas, 47 percent of homes are affordable — requiring monthly mortgage payments (including taxes) that are less than 31 percent of median household income. But in ultra-liberal, tech-flush San Francisco, just 14 percent of homes are affordable.
UCLA economist Matthew Kahn’s 2010 study of California cities found fewer new housing permits are issued as cities become more liberal. By making it harder to develop new housing, liberals’ historic-preservation, environmental and building-height restrictions — whether labeled as centrally planned “smart growth” policies or not — restrict supply and lessen affordability.
“(T)hese restrictions add up, across a city, even if they’re well-intentioned. The affordability issue will rear its head,” Mr. Kahn says. His findings and Mr. Kolko’s are part of what The Atlantic calls “a deep literature tying liberal residents to illiberal housing policies that create affordability crunches for the middle class.”
If the consequences of liberals’ housing-market distortions still aren’t clear, ask a middle-class San Francisco homeowner — if you can find one.