Magazine March 9, 2020, Issue

The Unbuildable American Home

A carpenter works on a new home in Las Vegas, Nev., April 5, 2013. (Steve Marcus/Reuters)
How regulations and land-use restrictions have made it too expensive to build

The United States has developed a split housing market. There are cities where homes have become extremely expensive, and others where home prices have stayed low. Look at it from the perspective of a young family: In the expensive cities, it probably seems as though homes have been spectacular investments for their parents, but now housing is overpriced and makes for a poor investment. In the cheaper cities, it may appear as though their parents’ homes haven’t been such spectacular investments.

So, for those young families, the American dream seems to be a one-time asset bubble. Now it’s done, and all

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Kevin Erdmann is a visiting fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and the author of the upcoming book Building from the Ground Up: Reclaiming the American Housing Boom.

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The Week

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