The Homework Newsletter

The HomeWork: July 28, 2021

July 30, 2021

Welcome to the July 28, 2021 Main edition of The HomeWork, the official newsletter of California YIMBY — legislative updates, news clips, housing research and analysis, and the latest writings from the California YIMBY team.

News from Sacramento

The Legislature is on recess until August 16th, but there’s plenty of legislative action happening in-district with meetings between constituents and their legislators. Lobbying on bills pending in appropriations committees will continue; we’ll have more updates next week.
One item to track: The Joint Legislative Audit Committee will likely review a request to audit the regional housing needs assessment (RHNA) produced by the Department of Housing and Community Development on August 20th. If you would like to learn more or help support the RHNA process, please email

Housing Research and Analysis

The Zoning Tax: $400,000, House Not Included

A new working paper from Gyourko & Krimmel (2021) analyzes new data on single-family housing construction and land use regulations, and finds that cities with restrictive zoning are in effect charging a “zoning tax” — and in some cases, the tax is over $400,000, more than the cost of a home.

Key takeaways:

  1. Zoning that prohibits multifamily homes imposes an increased cost on housing that is highest in expensive coastal metros.
  2. Restrictive zoning leads to higher prices, but higher prices don’t necessarily mean the zoning is restrictive.
  3. More recent data finds that the “zoning tax” is highest in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Seattle—in some cases, with land prices being bid up by the equivalent of an entire median household income or more.

Exclusionary Zoning and Exclusionary Schools: Two Sides of Same Coin?

A new dissertation chapter in Applied Economics by Jacob Krimmel at the University of Pennsylvania explores a novel connection between residential zoning and the broader landscape of segregation in the United States: school funding formulae.

Key takeaways:

  1. When municipal governments in California lost control over school funding in the early 1970s, they resorted to exclusionary zoning to raise home prices and maintain segregated communities.
  2. Their strategy worked: communities that implemented housing supply restrictions remained whiter and wealthier.
  3. In the 20 years following school funding equalization, wealthier local governments continued to implement housing supply restrictions, even further exacerbating inequality.

Houser Headlines

YIMBY Social – Top Posts


Youtube video of Jon Oliver from Last Week Tonight Talking about Housing Discrimination

We love this amazing video about the history of racist housing policy by Last Week Tonight host John Oliver — watch and share!

Watch Now »


Share the good word

We welcome your ideas and feedback — send story tips and ideas to

Did someone forward this email to you? Sign up to get it here.