No Light Rail in Vancouver!
U.K. to Expand Urban-
Gordon Brown, the U.K. prime minister, is preparing to order local governments to
expand the amount of land available for development so as to alleviate that nation’s
high housing prices. Although the media presents this as a conflict between “the
environment” and affordable housing, it is in fact a conflict between an elite’s
desire to preserve rural open space vs. a working-
Wendell Cox’s survey of housing prices found that the U.K. had some of the least-
Click to download Matthew Taylor’s report on rural housing affordability in the U.K.
A 2006 report by an economist with the Bank of England properly blamed the U.K.’s
high housing prices on this and similar restrictive laws, which led Tony Blair to
talk about expanding the land available for housing. But it took a July 2008 report
by member of Parliament Matthew Taylor to lead Brown (Blair’s replacement) to take
action. Taylor’s view is that unaffordable housing is threatening rural economies
and that relaxing land-
Interestingly, Brown is head of the Labour Party, which is roughly equivalent to
the U.S. Democratic Party, while Taylor is a member of the Liberal Party, which would
be roughly equivalent to Teddy Roosevelt’s Progressive Party if it still existed.
The fact that both of these left-
It is also interesting that the U.K. is expanding housing at a time when housing
prices are falling and some people are calling for government to rescue the economy
by propping up those prices. The problem is that restrictive land-
“Every demand swing will translate directly into a big price swing,” the economists add. “Therefore, the overall volatility of the house market is largely due to the planning system, but a highly volatile housing market with all the insecurity this creates is probably the last thing that either buyers or sellers would like to see.”
Since prices are already falling, there may be no better time for the government to relax its controls. Americans are not mesmerized by the rhetoric of planning can only hope that this sensible idea makes its way to the U.S.