8/19/2019

Carson's affordable housing idea drawing undue flak

"This approach zeroes in on a key policy that prevents millions of Americans from finding housing they can afford in the places where their best work or educational opportunities are located: restrictive zoning. In job-rich Washington, DC, for example, two-thirds of the land is zoned for either single-family or row houses. The median price of a single family home there is $730,000. The median price for a condo is $468,000—but they can only be built in a tiny portion of the city.

Carson’s proposal has drawn criticism from some conservatives who oppose any efforts by the federal government to limit local control over land-use decisions. But this concern is misplaced.

Local zoning rules across the country often limit or ban the construction of lower-cost housing such as apartments or manufactured homes. In general, zoning limits how densely developers can build and, in the process, increases the cost of housing. When jurisdiction after jurisdiction adopts rules that drive up home prices, entire regions become inaccessible to low-income and even middle-income people."