The Affordable Housing Coalition We Need

One thing I wish more people understood is that affordable housing politics is not a fight between “greedy developers” and renters.

Properly understood, the political economy looks like this: developers + renters + construction workers on Team Build More Housing, and incumbent landowners on Team NIMBY.

You often see renters working against their own interests by opposing new development, mistakenly believing that stopping new housing from getting built will somehow reverse the upward climb of land prices. They should really be rooting for developers to dump more apartment units on the neighborhood, and quickly, to keep the supply of apartments nice and slack.

Neighborhoods with good connections to center city Philly are only going to see their land prices keep climbing. Whether or not rents stay affordable will be determined by how many apartment units those land costs can be spread across. The more housing units that get built on the expensive land, the lower the rents.


  1. You forgot the most important part – President Obama is single-handedly stopping any of this from happening on a scale that would matter. He won’t permit banks to lend because he needs their deposits to fund his trillions in deficit spending.

    Sorry Jon, your man is a train wreck in this regard.

  2. He needs their money so badly he’s willing to offer them a truly enormous interest rate…

    …of .15%.

    Definitely crowding out housing investment, that.

  3. Alan in a perfect market you’d have a point.

    But what’s happening is that Obama bank regulators are not permitting banks to make loans. Since bank deposits have been growing, they have to do something with the cash The one thing they can do without regulatory criticism is buy US Treasuries.

    So by preventing banks from lending Obama is able to siphon off that cash to fund his trillions in deficits.

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