Jun 29, 2010

Thought Provoking Ideas

The Scramble to Protect the American Dream in Paradise: is Affordable Housing Possible in Hawaii (2007)
- This article originally published in the Hawaii Bar Journal is a good overview of the problems developers face when dealing with local and state governments to create affordable housing or develop in general.
- One of it's concludes is that gov't must do its part by upgrading infrastructure (sewer, water capacity, etc) and not depend solely on exactions from developers to foot the bill for improving City infrastructure.

Barriers to Affordable Housing in the State of Hawaii
- The Task Force articulated specific barriers to affordable housing development in Hawaii and produced 9 bills to change state laws. However, ALL of them failed.
- This Report is an explicit attempt to identify barriers and streamline gov't regulation to allow developers to create affordable housing.
- To illustrate the point, the Report mentions Hawaii's ranking as #1 in a national survey: "The survey, known as the Wharton Residential Land Use Regulatory Index (WRLURI), concludes that Hawaii is the most regulated state by the Wharton index, and is 2.3 standard deviations above the national mean."

How Urban Planners Caused the Housing Bubble
- Hawaii is mentioned several times throughout this article as an example showing the relationship between the amount of land regulation and real estate prices. The premise is that choking the supply of developable land leads to higher prices.
- Although I do not agree that development should be unregulated, esp for our small island state where land is a finite resource, the author's emphasis on land regulation as one of the primary root causes of high real estate prices,  is intriguing. He includes a table showing the relationship between housing bubbles and land use regulation. Hawaii shows rapid price increases during market bubbles but is also resilient to market downturns because the article suggests, of our growth-management laws. The article states that Hawaii has the oldest growth-management law (at the state level) and not coincidentally, one of the highest home value to median family income ratios.
- Other articles from municipalities that have explored barriers to affordable housing in other states echo this sentiment that too much regulation (ie. public hearing required, onerous design or occupancy restrictions) encourages illegal dwellings, as homeowners become disgruntled with the permit process.