A University of Washington Econ prof has quantified how much ‘good intentions’ cost the average home owner in the city of Seattle. The Portland area Planning Class should take note that Professor Theo Eicher (who will be on the Victoria Taft Show on Friday on KPAM 860. Stream here) has put the cost of those ‘good intentions’ at $200,000.00 per house.
“In a nationwide study, it can be shown that Seattle is one of the most regulated cities and a city whose housing prices are profoundly influenced by regulations,” he says.
A key regulation is the state’s Growth Management Act, enacted in 1990 in response to widespread public concern that sprawl could destroy the area’s unique character. To preserve it, the act promoted restrictions on where housing can be built. The result is artificial density that has driven up home prices by limiting supply, Eicher says.
…Eicher explains that “the statewide growth-management plan gave King County few options but to require that landowners in rural areas that haven’t already cleared their land to keep 50 to 65 percent of their property in its ‘natural state.’ This forced greater density in Seattle.”
“The state is intervening to restrict supply. It’s not that there’s no land at all,” Eicher says.
It’s clear that there are other ways to provide some planning without driving all the poor people and families out of a certain area:
Cities such as Houston and Atlanta, which have few growth restrictions, have shown that. They’ve been able to add enough housing to meet demand, so their home prices have risen more moderately than heavily regulated San Francisco and Boston, which have a harder time increasing housing.
The full story is here.