Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Planners' spin spiked by housing researchers

LargeAerial News posted here recently at NOT PC that "While housing in much of the western world has become seriously unaffordable, the city of Houston remains unzoned, and its housing among the most affordable anywhere" attracted the eye of a vigilant Tauranga City Councillor.  On the basis of the evidence linked to in that post, he asked the Tauranga town planners to justify their stated claim that the so called 'Smart Growth' polices they are imposing on the city have no effect on the cost of housing.

In reply, the planners put together a memo which, in the way of these things, was utterly self-serving.  And also in the way of these things, it leaked. It leaked to Wendell Cox and Hugh Pavletich, who have replied to it online at the Demographia blog: Tauranga Staff Memo on Houston Misleads Council. Their reply concludes:

New Zealand’s housing affordability loss is the result of overly prescriptive land use planning (smart growth or urban consolidation policy). This connection has been identified by some of the world’s top economists and is detailed in our 4th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey. The situation was best summed up by former Reserve Bank of New Zealand Governor Donald Brash, writing in the Demographia report: the affordability of housing is overwhelmingly a function of just one thing, the extent to which governments place artificial restrictions on the supply of residential land.. In short, where there are no prescriptive land use policies, housing is affordable. Among the six nations surveyed in our report, there are no exceptions.

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