Saturday, September 28, 2013

Grand Game! Real Estate Edition

Grand Game, Grand Game, Whatchoo Gonna Do?  Whatchoo Gonna Do When They All Read You?

This guy is some piece of work.  It turns out that the reason that real estate is expensive in San Francisco is not the bizarre web of restrictions on new building, or the requirements that people not sub-let, or the requirements that existing houses must be preserved at all costs.  The shortage is entirely the product of an artificial restriction imposed by dumb regulation.  But our boy wants to blame...greed! Check it out:

San Francisco has struggled to rehouse those who lose their homes. Scott Wiener, who chairs the city’s Land Use and Development Committee, says: “The number one challenge in the city is housing affordability. It’s not surprising that when you have a growing population and don’t build new housing, you see an explosion in house prices. In the last decade we’ve added at least 50,000 new residents to San Francisco, and produced very little new housing.”  (Editor's note:  The "speculators" would have loved to build new housing, but the law prevents it.  Not the state legislature, but the city of SF).

Though he doesn’t much care for the start-up douchebags, Redmond blames not individual tech workers for the current crisis, but property speculators and the lawmakers who have let them take advantage of their precious commodity: space. 

“If we had a major earthquake in San Francisco, the water mains all broke, and some guy showed up with a water truck and started selling water for $10 a gallon, people would be pissed,” he says. “That guy would be ridden out of town; he’d be attacked with sticks and pitchforks. But that’s what the real estate people are doing right now – and they’re getting away with it.”

Nice.  This fellow even gets in a shot in about price-gouging.  (Think about it:  If someone took in water after a major earthquake, they'd be more evil than someone who sits at home and says, "Someone should DO something!"  Really?)

 It's a tour-de-force of economic illiteracy.  I'm going to assign it as a class homework.  ATSRTWT

With a grateful nod to Brad H.  You were right, buddy.  This is awesome.


Tom said...

It's a dramatic story of intransigence. If the author admitted that people respond to incentives or that good intentions are not a sufficient reason for compulsion, he would lose his entire world view. Those evil property speculators "have produced very little new housing". Tim Walker (still less use-planner Scott Wiener) doesn't dare look elsewhere to see things going better or to ask why that might be.

(However, that page of The Independent has a link to a picture spread on a sexy female golfer; readers have something to focus on.)

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