Monday, October 15, 2007

Debunking the Growth Myth, Part 4

Myth Number 4
If we try to limit growth, housing prices will shoot up.

Reality Check: Growth controls can produce many benefits for a community and may even result in a better distribution of affordable housing than market-driven growth.

Housing affordability has the potential to become a key issue in any local debate about how to control growth. The development industry has repeatedly used the housing affordability issue to defeat growth controls on the grounds that anything that restricts the supply of housing, or pushes up the cost, will affect housing affordability.

Concerns about how growth controls affect the availability of low and moderate-income housing are legitimate. But such concerns should not be used merely to thwart and undermine growth controls. Rather, these concerns should serve as the motivation to create responsible policies that truly address the community's housing needs.

A 1992 study compared housing prices of seven California cities having growth controls with comparable cities not having growth controls. This study compared each community's home prices every year from 1980 to 1987 and found that "median single-family home prices did not rise any faster or to higher levels in the seven case-study cities than in their counterpart pro-growth cities. Indeed, by the end of the 1980's, housing was more affordable in some of the growth control cities than in their corresponding comparison cities."

read the rest of the argument against Myth 4 here.

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