In Understanding the housing market, we review housing markets with special attention to land values and construction costs. Why do small towns tend to have small buildings and large cities have large buildings? When is it cheaper to use more expensive construction techniques? How can a house in a place like Palo Alto, CA move from classic starter home to exclusive luxury, without having changed much physically?
Based on this analysis, we review various policy proposals that have been made, both enacted and proposed, to address exclusionary zoning. We identify the good and bad of such missing middle housing, density everywhere, and other kinds of policy ideas, and we lay out some novel ideas of our own.
There are dozens of vitally important topics that are not (yet) covered in this site. What is the relationship between housing and transportation technologies? Between housing and climate change? Between housing and the broader economy? Why do places become more or less desirable to live in? How do you understand housing depreciation? This is not because these topics are uninteresting or unimportant, but merely because we are two people seeking to add to the housing discourse, and not professors writing a “Housing Economics” textbook. Nevertheless, we do believe that anybody approaching these questions would do well to have a grounding in the topics that we do cover.