Free market devotees are getting rather boxed into a corner these days when it comes to proposing solutions for affordable housing crises.
There are still hopeful cries everywhere from the housing industry and their real estate fellow travellers in favour of the ‘give the fox the keys to the henhouse’ approach to baaaad urban zoning1. (That’s pretty much any zoning at all, save safety regs.)
But New York City is proving that housing developers can’t be trusted to zip up their own pants. Demolition followed by binge regurgitation of luxury high rises shows perfectly well that the housing industry is no more capable of recognizing overbuilding than the Republican party is capable of identifying climate change2.
Meanwhile, housing prices ARE creeping downwards in that city — from megamillions to mere multimillions. At these rates, Australian forest fires will spread to the whole globe before affordability is rescued by the ‘build anything, anywhere,’ trickle down housing economy championed by the YIMBY3 movement in its quest to demolish zoning.
What other clever ideas do uber-capitalists have for preserving the housing commodity market while solving affordability crises? (These crises are perfectly deniable for those with eyes and wallets attuned to luxury market, but rather more depressingly real for the urban underclasses.)
A recent Forbes article by one of its advisory council housing gurus has suggestions that range from astonishing to the mundane.
Two causes are identified for ‘the housing crisis’ (we prefer to consider a number of crises, rather than just one, but we’ll go along to get along.)
One is the low, low interest rates being curbed by national banks. There is certainly agreement that this is a problem, whatever other national and world crises are being solved by holding rates so low.
The second supposed cause is truly wild and woolly. The author blames the tech industry on the U.S. west coast. Who would ever have believed that industry’s reach was so long? But then, the tech industry has the internet by which to deliver its megadose of worldwide unaffordability, doesn’t it? Doesn’t it?
Anyway, on to solutions. We did say that free market devotees were getting boxed in, didn’t we? Alas, new ideas in this article are either old hat (the housing industry finally admitting that construction technology must change its spots) or going postal (thousands of miles of underground tubes sucking and spitting cars to and from the suburbs).
For a view of some busy (and hopefully distracting) tinkering in the shelter shed at the foot of the housing commodity profit mountain, read more in Forbes: Three Ways We Can Innovate Our Way Out of The Affordable Housing Crisis