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Its The Law: Zoning And Building Regulations Are A Cause Of Higher Housing Prices

In the laws of supply and demand, assuming demand as a constant, restriction in housing supply causes housing prices to rise.

This is nothing new but the irony is not lost on some. Municipalities grapple with providing affordable housing yet unintentially create a restrictive development environment preventing anything but luxury housing from being cost-effective to build. This pattern tends to be more exagerated in high density metropolitan areas.

A “two-year study, released last week by the Pioneer Institute for Public Policy Research and the Rappaport Institute [Lowell Sun] [1], collected zoning data on 187 communities within 50 miles of Boston. The data does not include Boston or Cape Cod.

Pro-development groups including Homebuilders Association of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Association of Realtors and the Massachusetts Lumber Retailers Association paid for the survey, but the groups did not pay Glaeser for his analysis or report.”

Download the report [Pioneer Institute] [2]

Edward Glaeser, lead author of the study, said over-regulation by cities and towns are driving up the cost of housing in Massachusetts, driving away residents and putting pressure on businesses to keep highly-skilled workers.

_Glaeser is a Harvard academic who has written other well-read housing papers such as:_

Why is Manhattan So Expensive? Regulation and the Rise in Housing Prices [pdf] [3]
Why Have Housing Prices Gone Up? [pdf] [4]
Urban Growth and Housing Supply [pdf] [5]