A Washington Post reporter has penned an op-ed documenting the extent of the housing crisis in the United States. Here's the shocking lead: "In the past five years, housing prices in Fairfax County [Virginia] have grown 12 times as fast as household incomes." Reporter Michael Grunwald suggests that the cost of housing should be a major political issue.
But beyond pushing for more public policy pronouncements, his prescriptions fall a bit short: "The best thing local officials can do to promote affordable housing is to get of the way -- stop requiring one-acre lots and two-car garages, and stop blocking low-income and high-density projects."
Unfortunately, ending exclusionary zoning and upping density may result in more rental units, but experience shows that this will only nudge prices downward at the top of the market.
Question for you economic visionaries out there: what should we do about the ramp up in prices and the acute shortage of affordable housing in the United States?