June 27, 2007
Affordable housing crisis
Danny Westneat is bemoaning rising housing costs: "Rents soar through the roofs"
Rising rents might have something to do with demand for housing outpacing supply, exacerbated by government action which constrains development, artificially raises construction costs, continually inflates property taxes, and/or removes housing stock from the open market.
Westneat's solution? Try to repeal the laws of supply and demand through legislation:
Rent control often creates more problems than it solves. But a law barring "economic evictions" -- outlandish rent increases of, say, 20 percent or more -- might be a good idea.
Yeah, and capping journalists' salaries might be
a good idea too. But a better idea would be for the Seattle Times
to hire more writers who have a basic grasp of economic principles and can explain them to its readers.
Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at June 27, 2007
03:37 PM | Email This
"But a better idea would be for the Seattle Times to hire more writers who have a basic grasp of economic principles and can explain them to its readers."
But Stefan, that would mean that they would have to actually hire some,(gasp!),conservatives.
The only economic principle that writers for the Times and P-I understand, (with the exception of the P-I's Bill Virgin), is "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need". I wouldn't be surprised at all if there were signs in the lobbies of both papers that read; "conservatives need not apply".
2. Of priimary concern to me is the push to "offer relief" to "victims" of "preditory lending." In other words politicians, led by the senior senator from NY, want me and others who live within their means and wanted nothing to do with ARMs, interest only loans, cash outs etc etc etc to pay to bail out a bunch of irresponsible borrowers and the lenders who gave thm the money in the first place. I say screw em' all.
3. I was speaking with Mary-Alyce Burleigh from Kirkland the other day and they are seriously considering rent control districts with tax incentives for property owners. On the up side for affordable hosuing though, Ron and the County council have just voted unanimously to put 2,000 units in the middle of Maple Valley ( Without the approval of the City) under Ordinance 2007-0350 in order to given an exclusive to Yarrow Bay Development who promises to help Dorthy Bulliett ( Habitat) to place a significant number of Affordable homes in the new development. As a Sweetener Yarrow will swap some Icy Creek property from the Green River Watershed Area that they hold options on in exchange for the exclusive development rights in Maple Valley. What a scam. I will never believe another word about GMA, CAO, Buildable Lands from ANYBODY at King County.
4. Let's just clear cut some areas in the Arboretum and put in single wide trailers. (Maybe we can get them cheap from FEMA.)
One of the best comedy bits that just keeps on repeating is the attempt of legislators worldwide to repeal the laws of supply and demand.
And any legislature that makes the attempt immediately goes into the category of the wise solons who decided that the value of pi must be set at 3.0000 so as to spare humanity the indignity of dealing with irrational numbers and figity decimal points.
That's the sort of thinking that hits the papers as "smart" growth, "smart" dieting, "smart" water use, "smart" sexual activity - until reality ungraciously intrudes, and the unintended consequences bite the wise legislators where it hurts.
Doesn't Ames Lake need some "affordable housing" Darcy?
7. Westneat. Just another Seattle Socialist.
8. Once again, you are expecting too much from Westneat (and just about any columnist except perhaps Krautheimer). Columnists who came out of journalism are not to be taken seriously. There's a better than even chance Westneat's column was heavily edited by someone else.
Gee didn't Gregoire promise (just as I747 was struck down) to make it a legislative priority last session to reign in and limit the massive property tax hikes that are chasing people out of their residences?
And once again as on any Gregoire tax cut promise, she produced.........
Nothing! Lied once again!
I'm always amazed at the commentary concerning "unaffordable housing". Here's a big news flash for all the loony leftists out there - somebody is buying those houses, so they must be "affordable". If they were truly "unaffordable", then nobody would be shelling out the cash to get them.
Of priimary concern to me is the push to "offer relief" to "victims" of "preditory lending." In other words politicians, led by the senior senator from NY, want me and others who live within their means and wanted nothing to do with ARMs, interest only loans, cash outs etc etc etc to pay to bail out a bunch of irresponsible borrowers and the lenders who gave thm the money in the first place. I say screw em' all.
What's amazing is that there ALREADY EXISTS a Constitutional remedy, Article 1 section 8. It's called bankruptcy.
Passing laws and "relief" to help debtors AND creditors who screwed up avoid bankruptcy is simply and unequivocally ignorant. Perhaps having their assets federally managed (note you don't have to lose them - Chapter 13 filings see to that) and their credit tightly restricted for a few years would work wonders...
You're right about the county's plan for Maple Valley, but you're wrong that the Council has approved zoning for 2,000 units. The Council has only authorized the Executive to get into exclusive negotiations with Yarrow Bay. 2007-0350 explicitly calls out that the City of Maple Valley *must* be included in the planning process and it is the intent to have the area annexed by the City.
13. Yah, let's pass a law that Times columnists can only receive raises of 3% a year so that newspaper prices can remain affordable. Makes as much (non)sense.
Westneat is a KLOWN who subscribes to the Economics of FEELINGS.
It FEELS so good to control rents charged by evil property owners. It FEELS so good to help the downtrodden who simply cannot afford the extraordinary cost of living in Seattle caused by:
**High & Escalating Taxes....increases which Westneat & the other KLOWNS routinely support.
**High & Escalating Permit, Impact & other Bullshit Fees the City & County routinely EXTORT.
Danny, I've got an idea. It would cause you to put YOUR MONEY where YOU MOUTH is though. Probably not interested...but I'll give it a shot anyway.
Why don't YOU rent out YOUR HOUSE for waaaaaaaay less than market value. Set the standard DannyBoy. You could go live in a tent in the FreeMount District with your bubbleheaded brethren. Win-Win!!!
Hey 12th floor;
The language is extremely weak considering the consequences for the City of Maple Valley. If the county ws serious about inclusion, shouldn't they allow Maple Valley to annex BEFORE the sale to Yarrow Bay? Shouldn't the people of the town be able to determine the density and design standards since they completely surround the project? If the County doesn't intend to take the Zoning from RA-5 (one house per 5 acres) to over 12 per acre immediate pre-sale annexation shouldn't be a problem right? I am guessing that the County intends to sell the property to the developer at the lower value RA-5 Zoning ( To keep the price of the property down) and then approve the higher density Zoning change to HDR (High Density Residential) increasing the value and profits immediately. Since you are in a position to know 12th floor, How much will the County make when is sells Yarrow the TDR credits our to the TDR bank? What will county determine the "market value" adder they have the option to charge?
The language added on hearing on the 25th was a fig leaf. When the County ( who holds all of the cards) says that the City "must" be included in the planning process, essentially that means they can sit in on the meetings, they have no control. What did the FOIA request uncover? How long has the County been working this back door deal with Yarrow? This makes a mockery of the GMA, comprehensive planning and any good faith ethically behavior on behalf of the County. Somebody is going to make a whole bunch of money on this back door deal and the people of Maple Valley will be forced to pick-up the tab.
16. I drove through Maple Valley towards Four Corners on a Friday afternoon a few weeks back, and it was unbelievable. The traffic was so bad, a single lane each way serving hundreds of drivers. It took nearly a half an hour to go about 4 miles. The infrastructure in that area definitely has not kept up with development.
The galactic overlords at the County are working on a solution for that Maple Valley highway. It parallels their darling scheme to densify us urbanites. No extra lanes, no widening. They're designing a 44-story bus which will occupy only one lane, run on solar power, accommodate 652 passengers and play endless commercials fawning over Ron Sims. Yes, it will only run once a week, but we must temper the citizens' greed for excessive changes of scenery.
Section 8 for middle class people.
Why not? Shouldn't government subsidize them so they can live in expensive garden neighborhoods in Seattle?
Oh sure, they could move, but they they couldn't be working 20 hours a week and spend the rest of the day lounging around Green Lake -- all the while living in a fantastic apartment.
But hey, no big deal that the rest of the country has to do things like get an education, fight a good job and try to make as much money as possible...
19. Trouble is, the very next sentence in the column directly addresses supply and demand. It says: "We could build more apartments."
I'm sure it's fun to rant on about how journalists don't grasp economic principles. But would it kill you to actually read the columns first?
20. #19: So you're advocating both increased supply and rent controls. You're still advocating rent controls.
It's not "we" could build more apartments. It's someone else, who's subject to all the laws of economics including risk. Since this discussion's more or less about 'affordable housing', could you propose some method whereby "we" (your hypothetical apartment builders) could expect reasonable rewards for taking said risks, while the rest of us aren't increasingly taxed to make the apartments 'affordable' to the proposed inhabitants whose votes the legislators hope to gain?
Let's be civil to Mr. Westneat, especially seeing how he was kind enough to actually participate in this discussion.
Sticking to the issue at hand, it seems to me that even the prospect of potential future rent control legislation would discourage the building of new apartments. Who would want to risk their own capital to invest in such development which might be instantly devalued by legislative fiat? The only entity likely to built under that scenario is the government itself, which can spend your tax dollars to subsidize the scheme.
Look how many new apartments have been built in New York City (strict rent control since WW II)in the past half century. Very very few, except for government "projects" (instant slums). Finding a decent apartment there requires extreme effort, a gaggle of agents, and often special connections. Millionaires (literally, including former NYC mayor Dinkins) have lived in rent controlled apartments for decades, paying way below market rents. The poor little guy, however, is still left out.
As usual, price controls lead to more severe shortages, just as they have for 3000 years.
But some people think it will work here, despite all the evidence to the contrary, if we only really have our hearts in the right place, and really care about the little guy, and in a diverse and multicultural and multilingual way click our heels together three times....
Who is the "we" that "can" build more apartments and why or how can they, the "we" that is.
If indeed apartment owners were granted some restraint from government regulations, taxes and other little burdens that frequent their lives courtesy of local Democrat tribe members that care so much for the workers perhaps it may be possible to build more apartments. On the other hand maybe some day in the not to distant future Danny and others of his ilk might actually begin to understand that the problem is planned socialism where some are more equal than others.Then and only then will they write columns exposing the reckless management of Nickles, Sims and the Queen. Until then why even bother to read the Seattle Times. Yes, Danny I did read your drivel concerning apartment dwellers courtesy of Shark posting the URL. I stopped subscribing to the Times decades ago as it is no longer vital or important. You folks don't have a clue.
Yep, my property taxes went up a bundle over the past 10 years. As did the values. Goody. The cost of living went up as well. Kind of evens out. Just have to earn a couple of hundred grand a year to live a middle class existence in Puget Sound. The price of moorage also shot up as did tie down fees at the local airport. And may I whine about the price for fuel and blueberries. Guess I am just another victim.
Socialist spread misery to the masses by taxing the rich. Remember the rich may move,(remember Boeing) whereas the poor must stay. Haven't met a poor man that could afford me or benefit from my skill set.