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The Great American Single-Family Home Problem

dud

Diamond Member
Feb 18, 2001
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I read this NYT article and the problem of affordable housing (and how hard the solution to the problem will be) came more into focus. I have summarized the piece for those who do not/cannot invest the time in reading the while thing.

The focus of this article is how bad things are in California. This particular piece uses a particular property in Berkeley to illustrate just how difficult the problem will be to solve. California is a stark contrast with much wealth yet the highest rate of poverty in the nation. The story focuses on an investor's attempt to make money while renovating a property. The investor attempted to demolish a single family structure and replace it with three single family structures ... all on the same 50x150 foot lot. As a single property lot the property is estimated to be worth $1.4M. As three structures (on the single lot) the property is estimated to be worth $3M. Property buyers would be able to purchase a house for $1M vice $1.4.

Unfortunately, the courts were pulled in as the neighborhood fought the investor's plans. They lost. Would be interested in hearing from others who have experienced this problem first-hand.


https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/01/business/economy/single-family-home.html


"Building more housing, more densely, could help address a widespread economic challenge. A fight over one lot in Berkeley, Calif., shows how tough that could be.


BERKELEY, Calif. — The house at 1310 Haskell Street does not look worthy of a bitter neighborhood war. The roof is rotting, the paint is chipping, and while the lot is long and spacious, the backyard has little beyond overgrown weeds and a garage sprouting moss.

The owner was known for hoarding junk and feeding cats, and when she died three years ago the neighbors assumed that whoever bought the house would be doing a lot of work. But when the buyer turned out to be a developer, and when that developer floated a proposal to raze the building and replace it with a trio of small homes, the neighborhood erupted in protest.

Most of the complaints were what you might hear about any development. People thought the homes would be too tall and fretted that more residents would mean fewer parking spots.

Other objections were particular to Berkeley — like a zoning board member’s complaint that shadows from the homes might hurt the supply of locally grown food.

Whatever the specifics, what is happening in Berkeley may be coming soon to a neighborhood near you. Around the country, many fast-growing metropolitan areas are facing a brutal shortage of affordable places to live, leading to gentrification, homelessness, even disease. As cities struggle to keep up with demand, they have remade their skylines with condominium and apartment towers — but single-family neighborhoods, where low-density living is treated as sacrosanct, have rarely been part of the equation.

If cities are going to tackle their affordable housing problems, economists say, that is going to have to change. But how do you build up when neighbors want down?

...

Even though the Haskell Street project required no alterations to Berkeley’s zoning code, it took the developer two years and as many lawsuits to get approval. He plans to start building next year. The odyssey has become a case study in how California dug itself into a vast housing shortage — a downside, in part, of a thriving economy — and why the State Legislature is taking power from local governments to solve it.

“The housing crisis was caused by the unwillingness of local governments to approve new-home building, and now they’re being held accountable,” said Brian Hanlon, executive director of California Yimby, a housing lobbying group that is backed by the tech industry and helped plan the lawsuits.

...

The affordable-housing crunch is a nationwide problem, but California is the superlative. The state’s median home price, at just over $500,000, is more than twice the national level and up about 60 percent from five years ago, according to Zillow. It affects the poor, the rich and everyone in between.

In San Diego, one of the worst hepatitis outbreaks in decades has killed 20 people and was centered on the city’s growing homeless population. Across the state, middle-income workers are being pushed further to the fringes and in some cases enduring three-hour commutes.

Then there is Patterson + Sheridan, a national intellectual property law firm that has its headquarters in Houston and recently bought a private jet to ferry its Texas lawyers to Bay Area clients. The jet was cheaper than paying local lawyers, who expect to make enough to offset the Bay Area’s inflated housing costs. “The young people that we want to hire out there have high expectations that are hard to meet,” said Bruce Patterson, a partner at the firm. “Rent is so high they can’t even afford a car.”

From the windows of a San Francisco skyscraper, the Bay Area looks as if it’s having a housing boom. There are cranes around downtown and rising glass and steel condominiums. In the San Francisco metropolitan area, housing megaprojects — buildings with 50 or more units — account for a quarter of the new housing supply, up from roughly half that level in the previous two decades, according to census data compiled by BuildZoom, a San Francisco company that helps homeowners find contractors.

The problem is that smaller and generally more affordable quarters like duplexes and small apartment buildings, where young families get their start, are being built at a slower rate. Such projects hold vast potential to provide lots of housing — and reduce sprawl — by adding density to the rings of neighborhoods that sit close to job centers but remain dominated by larger lots and single-family homes.

Neighborhoods in which single-family homes make up 90 percent of the housing stock account for a little over half the land mass in both the Bay Area and Los Angeles metropolitan areas, according to Issi Romem, BuildZoom’s chief economist. There are similar or higher percentages in virtually every American city, making these neighborhoods an obvious place to tackle the affordable-housing problem.

“Single-family neighborhoods are where the opportunity is, but building there is taboo,” Mr. Romem said. As long as single-family-homeowners are loath to add more housing on their blocks, he said, the economic logic will always be undone by local politics.

California is trying to change that. In September, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a sweeping package with 15 new bills designed to tame rental costs and speed construction.

In addition to allotting more money for subsidized housing, the package included a bill to speed the approval process in cities that have fallen behind state housing goals. There was a bill to close the policy loopholes that cities use to slow growth, and there were proposals that make it easier to sue the cities most stubborn about approving new housing.

“We can’t just plan for growth, we have to actually build,” said Ben Metcalf, director of the California Department of Housing and Community Development.

...

Home prices in the ZIP code surrounding the 1300 block of Haskell Street have just about doubled over the past five years, to an average of about $900,000, according to Zillow. Those numbers are terrifying to people like L.C. Stephens, 67, who is retired from the state corrections department.

Mr. Stephens pays $1,600 to live in a modest apartment complex that was built in 1963 and sits just a few lots down from the project site. His building was recently purchased by investors and is being painted and renovated. The rehabilitated units go for $2,400 and up.

“People are getting priced out,” he said. “It’s not about ‘We need more housing.’ Yeah, we can use it, but it needs to be affordable.”

The proposed homes are not that. They are estimated to sell for around $1 million. But this is an illustration of the economist’s argument that more housing will lower prices. The cost of a rehabilitated single-family home in the area — which is what many of the neighbors preferred to see on the lot — runs to $1.4 million or more.

Even so, economics is not politics. The argument that quiet, low-slung neighborhoods have to change to keep everyone from being priced out is never going to be a political winner. When the Haskell Street proposal came up for a vote, Jesse Arreguin, who was then a city councilman but is now the mayor of Berkeley, gave a “no” vote that sounded like a campaign speech.

“This issue is bigger than Haskell Street,” Mr. Arreguin said. “This project sets a precedent for what I believe is out-of-scale development that will compromise the quality of life and character of our neighborhoods throughout the city of Berkeley.”

The city’s denial won applause from the crowd. It also drew a lawsuit.

...

Shortly after Berkeley denied the Haskell Street permit, Ms. Trauss sued the city — and won.

Berkeley agreed to give the project a new hearing and consider the Housing Accountability Act when reviewing future development. Neighbors, still incensed, continued to put pressure on the city to deny it. And the city did, this time refusing a demolition permit.

Ms. Trauss sued again, and in July a Superior Court judge for Alameda County ordered the city to issue the permit.

“Organizing alone doesn’t get us out of the crisis,” said Ryan J. Patterson, Ms. Trauss’s lawyer and a partner at Zacks, Freedman & Patterson in San Francisco. “You have to have a fist people fear.”

This almost certainly marks the beginning of a trend. Right about the time Ms. Trauss sued Berkeley, Mr. Hanlon started raising money for California Yimby. He found traction in the local technology industry, whose growth is partly responsible for the Bay Area’s housing crunch but whose employees are similarly discouraged by the astronomical rents.

Nat Friedman, a serial entrepreneur who became a vice president at Microsoft after selling his company to the software giant last year, has helped California Yimby raise close to $1 million for its efforts to lobby the state on housing issues.

“The smaller the unit of government, the harder it is to solve this problem,” Mr. Friedman said.

Mr. Hanlon’s first project was to push for a law that would make it easier to sue cities under the Housing Accountability Act. The result was S.B. 167, a bill written by Nancy Skinner, Berkeley’s state senator and a former member of the City Council. In addition to raising the legal burden of proof for cities to deny new housing projects, the bill makes the suits more expensive to defend by requiring cities that lose to pay the other side’s lawyers’ fees.

“What’s frustrating for anybody trying to build housing is that they try to play by the rules and they still get told ‘no,’” Ms. Skinner said.

Ms. Skinner’s law takes effect next year, so the long-term impact is unclear. But just a few weeks before it was signed, the Zoning Adjustments Board had another contentious housing project.

Neighbors had familiar complaints: The homes were too tall, had long shadows, and more residents would make it harder to find parking. The board’s chairman responded that he understood the concerns but couldn’t risk another lawsuit.

California isn’t going to solve its housing problem in the courts. But the basic idea — big-footing local government so that cities have a harder time blocking development — is central to the solutions that the state is pursuing.

This is a state of great ambition. It wants to lead the country on actions to reduce carbon emissions, and has enacted legislation mandating a $15 minimum wage by 2022. But housing is undermining all of it.

Even with a growing economy and its efforts to raise wages, California has the highest poverty rate in the nation, with one in five residents living in poverty, once housing costs are taken into account. And plans to reduce carbon emissions are being undermined by high home prices that are pushing people farther and farther from work.

In a brief speech before signing the recent package of housing bills, Mr. Brown talked about how yesterday’s best intentions become today’s problems. California cities have some of the nation’s strictest building regulations, and measures to do things like encourage energy efficiency and enhance neighborhood aesthetics eventually become regulatory overreach.

“City and state people did all this good stuff,” Mr. Brown said to a crowd of legislators. “But, as I always say, too many goods create a bad.”"
 

K1052

Lifer
Aug 21, 2003
35,673
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The state needs to dramatically restrict the ability of counties and municipalities to inhibit density. There is simply no choice at this point. Tack on a value capture system that will let money flow into transportation fund coffers to improve local and regional transit in order to accommodate said increased density.

All the local input processes are designed to turn out the cranks with nothing better to do than to obstruct. This is how a lot of local politicians maintain their positions.
 
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Jun 19, 2004
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Sorry, my eyes glazed over in the second paragraph where it was implied $1,000,000 was affordable housing. When it comes to quality of life issues, the only ones with their heads further up their ass than the West coast is the East coast.
 

Puffnstuff

Lifer
Mar 9, 2005
15,098
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Its becoming more difficult for people to afford housing everywhere and as the cost of living continues to outpace wages, real wages, this problem will only worsen.
 

Commodus

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 2004
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Sorry, my eyes glazed over in the second paragraph where it was implied $1,000,000 was affordable housing. When it comes to quality of life issues, the only ones with their heads further up their ass than the West coast is the East coast.
Well, it definitely won't go below $1 million unless more of these higher-density units go up! Like K1052 said, California and municipal governments need to put their foot down and say no, your desire for a sprawling, quiet suburban neighborhood does not override the pain you're inflicting on the 3 people who desperately need a home that isn't a 2-hour commute away from work.
 
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zinfamous

No Lifer
Jul 12, 2006
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Well, it definitely won't go below $1 million unless more of these higher-density units go up! Like K1052 said, California and municipal governments need to put their foot down and say no, your desire for a sprawling, quiet suburban neighborhood does not override the pain you're inflicting on the 3 people who desperately need a home that isn't a 2-hour commute away from work.
those people trying to pack into Berkeley are doing it because they desire the 2 hour commute to San Jose or 1 hour-in-traffic crossing the Bay Bridge to SF. I say keep them the eff out. :D
 

IronWing

No Lifer
Jul 20, 2001
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So once again, developers were told to go pound sand at the local level so they went and bribed state politicians to overrule local desires. Representatives from Happy Camp are making zoning decisions for folks in Berkeley.
 
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purbeast0

No Lifer
Sep 13, 2001
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I was in Aruba last week and while we were grilling we chit chatted with some other people grilling. I live in the DMV area about 8 miles north of DC. When I talked to this other guy and we started asking where we're each from, he told me he was from Kentucky. The very first thing out of his mouth after I told him I was from the DMV area was "aren't housing prices ridiculous there?" The second thing out of his mouth was asking about how bad traffic is in the area. And yes he's right about both of those.

The thing is though, there's just so much more money to be made (in my field at least) where I live.

Sure my house may be double the price of his house, and probably 1/3 or more smaller, but my salary is pretty high and due to that it gives me a lot of extra fun money to play around with and take these vacations frequently due to the extra income.

If my salary is double what I'd make in Kentucky, but so is what my house payment would be in Kentucky, I still have the potential to come out with a lot more disposable income than I would living in a place with lower cost of living and lower salaries anyways.

Hypothetical scenarios below:

Kentucky - $1000/mo mortgage - $4000/mo takehome - $3000 extra income after paying mortgage
Maryland - $2000/mo mortgage - $8000/mo takehome - $6000 extra income after paying mortgage

Even if takehome in MD was only $6000/mo, that is still an extra $1000 a month after paying mortgage. So me personally, I'd take higher cost of living area if it was a place I wanted to live, over a low cost of living place, if it meant in the end I'd still have a lot more money after paying bills. And in that above scenario, that means 401k is also much larger as well so retirement would be larger in high cost of living area too.
 

Commodus

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 2004
8,024
5,045
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I was in Aruba last week and while we were grilling we chit chatted with some other people grilling. I live in the DMV area about 8 miles north of DC. When I talked to this other guy and we started asking where we're each from, he told me he was from Kentucky. The very first thing out of his mouth after I told him I was from the DMV area was "aren't housing prices ridiculous there?" The second thing out of his mouth was asking about how bad traffic is in the area. And yes he's right about both of those.

The thing is though, there's just so much more money to be made (in my field at least) where I live.

Sure my house may be double the price of his house, and probably 1/3 or more smaller, but my salary is pretty high and due to that it gives me a lot of extra fun money to play around with and take these vacations frequently due to the extra income.

If my salary is double what I'd make in Kentucky, but so is what my house payment would be in Kentucky, I still have the potential to come out with a lot more disposable income than I would living in a place with lower cost of living and lower salaries anyways.

Hypothetical scenarios below:

Kentucky - $1000/mo mortgage - $4000/mo takehome - $3000 extra income after paying mortgage
Maryland - $2000/mo mortgage - $8000/mo takehome - $6000 extra income after paying mortgage

Even if takehome in MD was only $6000/mo, that is still an extra $1000 a month after paying mortgage. So me personally, I'd take higher cost of living area if it was a place I wanted to live, over a low cost of living place, if it meant in the end I'd still have a lot more money after paying bills. And in that above scenario, that means 401k is also much larger as well so retirement would be larger in high cost of living area too.
This is why the Bay Area housing issue keeps getting worse, even though it also isn't as bad as it could be. Yeah, you're going to be paying $3,000 a month for a one-bedroom apartment, but you're also going to be making $150K or more per year. You still end up with plenty of spending money, and you might not even need a car because your company has commuter buses or will pay for your UberPool ride.
 

interchange

Diamond Member
Oct 10, 1999
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It certainly used to be that houses were both affordable and a sound investment. However, the market pushes us much more toward an investment. This really keeps house ownership out of reach for a lot of individuals and families, and it is common to rent even for those who could own a home. Others continually refinance with the market and never actually own anything. Those who spend their life without growing wealth are going to be dependent when they can no longer care for themselves. It's a big deal, but imagining more affordable housing prices really undercuts those who own already. What I think is most important is for people capable of ownership who are choosing to rent instead is to get them changing their minds. Homes that are owned to live in rather than be investments are much better for a stable market, so long as we aren't qualifying people we shouldn't.
 

fskimospy

Elite Member
Mar 10, 2006
70,783
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It certainly used to be that houses were both affordable and a sound investment. However, the market pushes us much more toward an investment. This really keeps house ownership out of reach for a lot of individuals and families, and it is common to rent even for those who could own a home. Others continually refinance with the market and never actually own anything. Those who spend their life without growing wealth are going to be dependent when they can no longer care for themselves. It's a big deal, but imagining more affordable housing prices really undercuts those who own already. What I think is most important is for people capable of ownership who are choosing to rent instead is to get them changing their minds. Homes that are owned to live in rather than be investments are much better for a stable market, so long as we aren't qualifying people we shouldn't.
This is all tied into the problem the OP is bringing up though, which is detached, single family houses. In tons of really desirable areas (Bay Area, NYC, etc) local communities continually sabotage increased density because they have financial and personal incentives to do so. The community as a whole is really harmed by this sabotage, but existing homeowners aren't going to care about that.

I agree with K1052, we need to radically scale back the ability of local communities to inhibit housing construction and things of that sort. This nonsense has gone on long enough. That doesn't mean we have to build like idiots like Houston did, but right now we're just being stupid the other way.
 
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Starbuck1975

Lifer
Jan 6, 2005
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This is playing out in NY, San Francisco, Orange County, Los Angeles, Boston. Why build high demand high density but low profit projects when on the same lot you can sell luxury to foreign money and the Wall Street investment class. The area I live in desperately needs affordable housing and more light rail, but all I see is 4000 square foot houses going up starting at $1M.

Couple that to good old fashioned NIMBYism and you have no upwards mobility for young families and the working class. Hard to compete with all cash offers when you are just starting out or buried under student debt.

Red states are horrible, but this is why I don't embrace blue state utopia either.
 
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K1052

Lifer
Aug 21, 2003
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This is playing out in NY, San Francisco, Orange County, Los Angeles, Boston. Why build high demand high density but low profit projects when on the same lot you can sell luxury to foreign money and the Wall Street investment class. The area I live in desperately needs affordable housing and more light rail, but all I see is 4000 square foot houses going up starting at $1M.
Zone them out then. Set a minimum density requirement for new developments and overlay a tax district to capture the uptick in property value for transit investments.

Couple that to good old fashioned NIMBYism and you have no upwards mobility for young families and the working class. Hard to compete with all cash offers when you are just starting out or buried under student debt.
The people who think a place should be frozen in amber at the moment they arrived there should not be considered as relevant to the ongoing needs of the community. It's amazing the people who will fight viciously against even the smallest changes. Sit though some entitlement hearings in CA, particularly the Bay Area, and you will want to kill yourself from the inane shit people come up with to block anything.

Red states are horrible, but this is why I don't embrace blue state utopia either.
This isn't a partisan issue really. Rich liberals are often just as NIMBY as the most die hard gun toting cousin sleeping with Trump supporter you could find. Really it's simply about change and the human inclination not to favor it.
 

Starbuck1975

Lifer
Jan 6, 2005
14,608
1,863
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Zone them out then. Set a minimum density requirement for new developments and overlay a tax district to capture the uptick in property value for transit investments.

The people who think a place should be frozen in amber at the moment they arrived there should not be considered as relevant to the ongoing needs of the community. It's amazing the people who will fight viciously against even the smallest changes. Sit though some entitlement hearings in CA, particularly the Bay Area, and you will want to kill yourself from the inane shit people come up with to block anything.

This isn't a partisan issue really. Rich liberals are often just as NIMBY as the most die hard gun toting cousin sleeping with Trump supporter you could find. Really it's simply about change and the human inclination not to favor it.
Therein lies the problem. Take the northeast. You have small white collar towns with good school systems and commutable by car to major cities. Yet throw a 200 or 300 unit low income apartment complex into a town like that with no plans for mass transit or stafffing the schools, and you will face resistance. Most of the roads can barely accomodate the traffic now, what happens when you throw urban density in suburbs that emerged from rural farmland without considering eminent domain to expand major arteries?

Or, take the OC. You have tons of land for development in cities like Irvine, yet all they are building there is luxury units tailored to Chinese investors while there is literally a homeless tent city sprawling just down the freeway a few miles.

I am glad you don't see this as a partisan issue, and that NIMBYism is as true for conservatives as it is for easily triggered eliticist social justice warrior pumpkin spice latte liberals :D
 

K1052

Lifer
Aug 21, 2003
35,673
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Therein lies the problem. Take the northeast. You have small white collar towns with good school systems and commutable by car to major cities. Yet throw a 200 or 300 unit low income apartment complex into a town like that with no plans for mass transit or stafffing the schools, and you will face resistance. Most of the roads can barely accomodate the traffic now, what happens when you throw urban density in suburbs that emerged from rural farmland without considering eminent domain to expand major arteries?
A lot of such towns at least have commuter rail access to a major city. Use textbook transit oriented development rules to encourage density around that. Also we're not just talking low income housing most of this would probably be market rate except for whatever set asides for affordability are deemed desirable.

Or, take the OC. You have tons of land for development in cities like Irvine, yet all they are building there is luxury units tailored to Chinese investors while there is literally a homeless tent city sprawling just down the freeway a few miles.
I've long been in favor of states and cities clamping down on foreign investment dumps. Developers building luxury homes for people to stash wealth in is detrimental to our cities. There are a number of potential ways to address this ranging from tax penalties to residency requirements.

I am glad you don't see this as a partisan issue, and that NIMBYism is as true for conservatives as it is for easily triggered eliticist social justice warrior pumpkin spice latte liberals :D
Everyone from old money blue hairs to dirty hippie socialists love them some NIMBYism.
 

IronWing

No Lifer
Jul 20, 2001
60,841
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What I get out of this thread is that people who already live in a nice community should go to hell because other people want to make money turning their community into a crap hole. NIMBYism is just plain common sense. If I live in a nice neighborhood, why would I rollover for some scumbag developer who wants to build a bunch of crap in my neighborhood and take the money and run? I'm stuck with more neighbors, more noise, more traffic, and higher taxes. The developer gets the loot and heads back to his/her own nice neighborhood.
 

Gryz

Golden Member
Aug 28, 2010
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This is not a problem.
The 1% can afford their houses. They can afford multiple houses, if they wish so.

Everybody else can go fuck themselves.
Long live capitalism.
 

woolfe9998

Lifer
Apr 8, 2013
12,052
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The article ignores any discussion of Prop 13 in CA. This law sets property taxes at 1% of the assessed value of the property at the time the law was passed in 1978. There is no reassessment until the home gets sold. People can pass their property on to their kids without triggering a reassessment. Today a typical home in the bay area will sell for ~$1.5 million. But the owner would be paying property taxes equal to 1% of say $90,000, the value of their home in 1978. $900 per year in property taxes for a property worth $1.5 million. Only in California.

Bottom line: no one wants to sell their homes here. They hold on to them as long as possible to keep the low tax rate, and many leave their homes to their kids. This shrinks supply in the housing market and keeps prices way up.
 

fskimospy

Elite Member
Mar 10, 2006
70,783
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What I get out of this thread is that people who already live in a nice community should go to hell because other people want to make money turning their community into a crap hole. NIMBYism is just plain common sense. If I live in a nice neighborhood, why would I rollover for some scumbag developer who wants to build a bunch of crap in my neighborhood and take the money and run? I'm stuck with more neighbors, more noise, more traffic, and higher taxes. The developer gets the loot and heads back to his/her own nice neighborhood.
It's perfectly fine to think this way, but you have to realize that thinking like this is one of the primary causes for housing prices becoming unaffordable for regular people. Our population is growing, which means we need more houses for them. If you think building more houses is 'building a bunch of crap' then you should expect things to get more expensive (including the things you buy every day) as that's the explicit policy choice you're making.

Speaking of greedy people getting the 'loot' though, the only people this anti-development mentality benefits are those who already own property in an area. Everyone else gets screwed. This is why the state should step in and simply remove the power of community boards to excessively restrict development like this. It's a few greedy people trying to make a cash grab with property. It's not an easy thing to make real estate developers the good guy in a scenario, but somehow shitty homeowners, in CA especially, have succeeded in doing this.
 
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IronWing

No Lifer
Jul 20, 2001
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Speaking of greedy people getting the 'loot' though, the only people this anti-development mentality benefits are those who already own property in an area. Everyone else gets screwed. This is why the state should step in and simply remove the power of community boards to excessively restrict development like this. It's a few greedy people trying to make a cash grab with property. It's not an easy thing to make real estate developers the good guy in a scenario, but somehow shitty homeowners, in CA especially, have succeeded in doing this.
This is horseshit. The "only people" and "few greedy people" you refer to are the people who actually make up a community. Period. Full stop. What you are saying is that the state should override community desires because, somehow "we have to destroy the village to save the village."

Let me know when the state decides to overrule zoning in Carmel.
 

pmv

Diamond Member
May 30, 2008
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I don't really understand the whole topic of housing. Though I do feel a perverse kind of inverse-smugness when it comes up, on the basis that the UK in general, and London above all, has gotten into a more absurd situation with the issue than even California could manage to achieve.

There seem to be so many factors involved, including things like the tax-incentives woolfe mentions (we have similar problems with things like Capital gains tax and VAT, which favours new-build over renovation), planning restrictions and Nimbyism (though Ironwing has a point that it's not defacto a bad thing, though in my experience Nimbies get listened to more if its a wealthy area, the less well-off seem to have a lot less power to object to developments), population growth, the increase in people living alone...and, in my opinion most of all, the way the economy seems to be trying to drive everyone to live in the same small areas of the globe (the US is, after all, mostly empty, at 1/8th of Western European popluation density - why is everyone trying to cram into San Fransisco anyway? Can't other places be made more attractive? Why does so much of the population of both the UK and indeed the entire EU want to live in London?).

There are other complications, such as, low-density housing and suburbs is best for bio-diversity (here we have more wildlife in suburbs, including bees, than in the supposed countryside), but encourages extreme dependence on private car travel. Or all the huge developments in London that are bought by wealthy foreign investors purely as property speculation and left to sit empty.
 

fskimospy

Elite Member
Mar 10, 2006
70,783
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This is horseshit. The "only people" and "few greedy people" you refer to are the people who actually make up a community. Period. Full stop. What you are saying is that the state should override community desires because, somehow "we have to destroy the village to save the village."

Let me know when the state decides to overrule zoning in Carmel.
It's this sort of thinking that's so destructive. Simply having an area change with the times isn't destroying it, it's keeping it vital and new. Lots more people would 'actually make up a community' if the people of that community weren't deliberately trying to prevent other people from coming into it for the purposes of jacking up their own property values. I see no reason why the state should empower people to underutilize valuable land to line their own pockets or enforce their personal vision of what a town should be like.

I hear it all the time in NYC, how people don't want development in their neighborhoods because they think it will cause rents to rise, etc. They don't seem to realize the simple math behind 'more houses = lower housing costs'.
 
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pauldun170

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The investor attempted to demolish a single family structure and replace it with three single family structure
Best part is watching a complete disregard of infrastructure, impact to surrounding areas and long term planning. "Derp dee derp well no one will need own a car because then they just derp dee derp walk everywhere derp dee derp".
Then magically 3-8 cars appear. Instead of 1 family that owned the home and had a vested interest in being a member of a community, you now have 3 families renting who really don't care about the the area. Trash everywhere. Constant construction on roads and sidewalks as utilities are dealing with over stressed or undersized crap.
I've watched entire neighborhoods disappear in NYC and now I'm seeing lots of land being handed over to developers out where I live.
In my county, the hole thing is a farce.
It's all about generating tax revenue and feeding cash into the construction industry by people who have no intention living with the outcomes of their decision.
All these bastards have their grand exit plan to retire to another state after their vanity projects are done here.
They talk a big game about housing shortages and affordable housing then they build apartments that the poor cannot afford and 3000sq+ ft luxury houses. They have been building massive apartment complexes near train stations out in suburbia with the insane assumption that thousands of people now occupying those structures will not own cars and never have children to enroll in school districts.
 
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K1052

Lifer
Aug 21, 2003
35,673
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Can't other places be made more attractive?
Yes but this would require a level of investment from the government that is increasingly unlikely. The trend of people moving to larger metro areas is not likely to be reversed by any plausible governmental intervention.
 

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