Currently our state’s legislature is considering 10 different bills that relate to affordable housing. Unfortunately, every bill only deals with a symptom of the problem and does not deal with any of the causes of unaffordable housing.

John McManus from Housing Wire wrote a great article last week on the myths and facts of affordable housing. He looks to a country that appears to have solved this problem for the most part.

Japan, a country of 127 million people and 53 million households has delivered or built nearly 1 million new homes and apartments every year for the last decade. And home prices and rents even in Tokyo have been basically flat with inflation for the last decade. How did this happen?

While the U.S. has 325 million people with 126 million households and we only built 1.25 million new homes and apartments last year, which was a 10 year high. If our country built new housing at the same pace per the number of households we should be building 2.96 million new homes and apartments. Why are we so much slower at building new housing?

According to Andre Sorensen, a professor of urban geography and a Japan housing expert at the University of Toronto Scarborough cited these factors—

  • In 2002 Japan’s federal government took responsibility of regulating urban space away from local communities in what was called the Urban Renaissance Policy. Why? One reason was to end NIMBYness that local control caused.
  • Second, they began relaxing regulations that had restricted supply and they began allowing taller and denser buildings.
  • Third, private consultants were given permission to issue building permits to speed up construction.

John McManus wrote, “They took down the rules. Freed builders and developers of encumbrances, and welcomed growth, and look what happens. Development and building keeps pace with population and household growth, and prices remain stable.” This is TRUE CAPITALISM!

Whereas in a story last week from the DBJ, State Senator Julie Gonzales was quoted as saying “I’m sorry, but the free market has led us to this crisis”, when she spoke at a rally for SB 19-225 that would allow local towns, cities, and counties to enact rent control. Ms. Gonzales you are 1000% WRONG! Our housing policies created by politicians have caused this affordable housing crisis! Please don’t blame capitalism.