Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Thomas Sowell on "Affordable Housing"

Behind the housing boom and bust was one of those alluring but undefined phrases that are so popular in politics-- "affordable housing." In looking back over my own life, I find it hard to think of a time when I didn't live in affordable housing. While the specifics will differ from person to person, my general pattern was not unusual. Most people pay for what they can afford at the time.

What, then, is the "problem" that politicians claim to be solving when they talk about creating "affordable housing"? The ultimate irony is that increasing government intervention in the housing market over the years has generally made housing less affordable than before, by any standard.


Link.

10 Comments:

At 1/20/2009 9:15 AM, Blogger btenney said...

In my life I have known many large Familys that lived very well in less than 900 sq ft.
That was an important factor in the days when gathering Wood Fuel for cooking and Heating consumed a large portion of your time. Even after the invention of the chainsaw several weeks were required to aquire the 16 or so cords required to last the winter.
For myself 600 sq ft would suffice if I had a 5 car Garage or a 30 ft x 40 ft Work shop for my Stuff.

 
At 1/20/2009 11:31 AM, Blogger spencer said...

I love how your tune has changed.

Was it just 30 months ago that you were talking about how great all these homes were and that all the
McMansions really demonstrated that the data was wrong and that everyone was really better off than the data showed?

Oh yes, don't forget you also claimed that this increase in wealth demonstrated that we did not need savings and all those commenting on the low savings rate just did not know what they were talking about.

 
At 1/20/2009 2:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The ultimate irony is that increasing government intervention in the housing market over the years has generally made housing less affordable than before ..."

I don't know that I completely agree with this statement. Look at all the affordable housing that the Democrats and their policies have created in Detroit, Baltimore, Oakland and other inner-cities. Where else could you buy a house for a dollar?

http://mjperry.blogspot.com/2008/08/detroit-one-dollar-can-get-you-large.html

Maybe Barrak Obama can do for the country what the Democrats have done for Detroit. Now that would be "Change" only a leftist could believe in.

 
At 1/20/2009 2:53 PM, Blogger 1 said...

" don't know that I completely agree with this statement. Look at all the affordable housing that the Democrats and their policies have created in Detroit, Baltimore, Oakland and other inner-cities. Where else could you buy a house for a dollar?"...

Excellent!

 
At 1/20/2009 3:00 PM, Anonymous poor boomer said...

THANK YOU! I have been waiting for years to see something from Sowell on this topic.

Government has been regulating housing into unaffordability for decades. Media attention on substandard housing in the 19509s prompted increasing regulation and urban renewal, which in turn led to the loss of millions of low-end housing units from the market.

In the 1980s, Jack Kemp gave Ross Perot an inspiration by showing off charts indicating the high costs of regulatio9n in new home prices.

Regulation plus NIMBY plus growing income inequality make housing unaffordable for Americans with the lowest incomes.

I pay 65 percent of my income to rent a room in a house with nine people.

What Would Sowell Say?

 
At 1/20/2009 3:05 PM, Anonymous poor boomer said...

Anonymous 2:04:

Most large cities have mile-long waiting lists for affordable housing. I bet the waiting lists are just as long in Detroit, Baltimore, and Oakland.

 
At 1/20/2009 3:10 PM, Anonymous poor boomer said...

Note to Robert Rector:

While Americans are, indeed, better-housed than ever before, this has come for many at the cost of affordability.

I personally would prefer not-so-good housing at a lower price.

 
At 1/20/2009 3:13 PM, Anonymous poor boomer said...

1 (got a blog yet?):

And exactly what's so great about buying a house for a dollar if $50K worth of work is needed to make it habitable, and then you'd also have to pay ghetto tax due to its location?

 
At 1/21/2009 6:10 AM, Blogger 1 said...

poor boomer asks: "1 (got a blog yet?)"...

I've not sure exactly what theme to run on that blog space I have...

"And exactly what's so great about buying a house for a dollar if $50K worth of work is needed to make it habitable, and then you'd also have to pay ghetto tax due to its location?"...

You'd rather whine about your supposed financial condition instead of doing something about it?

You do what it takes...

"Most large cities have mile-long waiting lists for affordable housing"...

Hmmm, I guess you are still for government intrusion into the housing industry after all...

Maybe you need to talk to, 'peanut:

Jimmy Carter Houses Crumbling...

 
At 2/19/2009 6:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To poor boomer: I noted you felt that the "frowing income inequality" was a factor in your not being able to afford a home..ok, so now that there are fewer rich folks, and the ones who are left have less, so now there is less of an "income gap", are you better off or worse off? Do you still have a job? Does everyone you know still have a job?

I would rather my neighbor make 100 times what I make if it means I have a good job, thanks. Give me back the old "income inequality" please.

 

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