Cheerleaders for sprawl
Suburban property developer Hugh Pavletich and his allies at the American right-wing lobby group "Demographia" are at it again: blaming soaring house prices on rules designed to limit urban sprawl. I won't repeat the arguments that I wrote last year (in this post and letter), but it's good to note that people don't seem to be falling for it. There's a string of reader comments on the Herald's website, few of whom seem to buy the line that insufficient sprawl is to blame for high property prices. I especially like the comment by Julie Anne Genter: "Unlimited suburban development could perhaps lower the cost of housing in the short term, but it will create huge burdens for society in the medium and long term." There's also a thread on Public Address Cafe, which if you ignore my ill-informed comment on the CPI, also has some interesting reading.
It's perhaps worthwhile to consider that among Demographia's targets is Vancouver, which has the 13th "least affordable" housing in the world. Vancouver also regularly tops surveys of the best places to live, hinting at a simpler explanation of why anti-sprawl cities are becoming expensive: they're great cities, so people want to live there!