What liberals hath wrought: Unaffordable housing |

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.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.