May 29, 2021
Welcome to the May 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.
If you’re interested in supporting California YIMBY’s priority bills, contact Louis Mirante at
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New Market-Rate Housing — It Lowers the Rent
The W.E. Upjohn Institute is back with a paper studying the impacts of new market-rate housing development on local rents in low-income neighborhoods. Long-time readers of this newsletter may recall when we covered the working paper by Asquith, Mast, & Reed (2021) here
, but now that it has gone through peer review, its results are more compelling than ever.
“New buildings decrease rents in nearby units by about 6 percent relative to units slightly farther away or near sites developed later”— even with migration increasing to high-income areas.
Consistent with Mast’s previous paper, this one finds that as more people move into new housing and vacate older housing stock, the availability of housing in the area actually increases.
The “amenity effects” of new housing, i.e. bringing more desirable shops and services to the neighborhood, don’t raise prices more than the increased housing supply lowers them. As a caveat, the authors note that these effects “could be limited because most buildings go into already-changing neighborhoods, or buildings could create disamenities such as congestion.”
The Limits of Inclusionary Zoning
A new paper by Cassola (2021) examines the costs and consequences of inclusionary zoning policies across the globe. Does requiring a portion of new private, market-rate development to be set aside at limited prices for lower-income households actually improve affordability and economic integration? Though the data is difficult to parse, results appear mixed so far.
- Inclusionary zoning can be effective in specific regions and contexts, but can also have unintended consequences — such as raising the market price of housing, or destabilizing neighborhoods. It should be seen “as a complement to rather than a replacement for other federal, state, and local affordable housing programs.”
- Because inclusionary zoning depends on context-specific variables, these policies “must also be flexible enough to accommodate differing neighborhood dynamics and adapt to changing conditions.”
- Because it is a market-based tool intended to ameliorate certain market failures, policymakers should appreciate its limitations and “take a long-term and holistic view of how lower income households may be excluded or adversely affected by the policy.”
- California leaders have no more excuses for their inaction on housing reforms
- What California lawmakers could do to boost homeownership for Black families
- How Parking Destroys Cities
- Los Angeles’s quixotic quest to end homelessness
- Will the California housing revolution be Zoomed?
- Parking Requirements Are Not a Useful Bargaining Chip for Increasing Affordable Housing
- The Housing Supply Debate: Evaluating the Evidence
- Few residents can afford single-family home in Los Angeles County
- The Bay Area’s housing production plummeted in 2020
- Everyone Agrees California’s Parking Laws Are Bad for Cities
- What is Driving Reductions in Residential Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the U.S.?
June 3 @ 5:00pm: At-Large Council Districts, Racial Equity and NIMBYism with Professor Michael Hankinson
Following the California Voting Rights Act of 2001, many cities began switching from at-large elections, where all city council members represented the entire city, to district-based elections, where separate members each represented a specific geographic area. How did this change affect how much new housing got built, and where it was located? Michael Hankinson of George Washington University and Asya Magazinnik of MIT studied the shift, and found that switching to district elections resulted in fewer units of multi-family housing. Join us to learn more! RSVP
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