A guy just transcribed 30 years of for-rent ads. Here’s what it taught us about housing prices
Michael Andersen

That is really awesome. However, I find that some of your statements come less from logic and reason and more from some sort of anti-developer sentiment.

Developers are not the problem. Without development, the problem you identify would be significantly worse. The issue is government. Local municipalities tend to govern based on fear of their base not re-electing them. They therefore make development decisions based on public sentiment rather than actually using professional reasoned study. It is why local ordinances tend to be haphazard and make no logical sense. It is why things get built that make no sense.

The fact of the matter is, developers will develop what people want, as long as their is an ability to earn a return on it. However, when a municipality decides to impose impact fees that are ridiculous, or require developers to build infrastructure beyond their own development, or force zoning ordinances that do not allow for correct use of property, developers are stuck finding a way to make something work. That usually means building things in a manner that doesn’t fit the needs of the community and charging a price based on the ability to get their return.

California is no stranger to this. Ever try getting a permit to build anything? How long does that take? I have heard from builders that it could take a project from plans to permit up to three years for approvals. Just the carrying cost of the project alone for that amount of time makes up the difference in housing prices.

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