Continued and increasing local regulations governing new homebuilding are making such structures too expensive to build, claims an Arizona scholar in a recently published essay.
Kevin Erdmann, a visiting fellow at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center, says that an increase in restrictions governing where a new home should go up and what it should look like has led to both less homebuilding, as well as an increase in the price of houses that do get built.
Zoning and building approval decisions, contends Erdmann, are being governed by concerns that “new units are too tall or too expensive, they cast shadows, they don’t match the existing character of the neighborhood, [and] they will attract the wrong sort of residents.”
Writing in the National Review, Erdmann says that he has interviewed many people now living in Arizona who moved to the Grand Canyon State because of an increase in homebuilding restrictions in the metropolitan markets of California.
Erdmann adds that homeowners in cities like San Francisco are now listing their homes for millions of dollars or renting them out for up to $4,000 a month because of the growing expense of building a new home in those same cities.
The homeowners’ profits in this new market, he continues, “are a direct result of policymakers’ preventing developers from building new housing units.”
At the same time, Erdmann notes that while housing affordability is becoming a greater issue across the country, “we are building new units at historically low rates.”
Continues Erdmann: “By harassing and taxing developers and builders, policymakers in these urban areas help elevate the prices of new homes above those of existing homes.”
Erdman, who makes his home in Gilbert, ultimately suggests that more open markets in mortgage lending and an easing of urban land use policies will allow for an increase in new homebuilding.
“Solve the problem of access and affordability will follow,” he contends.
By Garry Boulard