Mark Thoma excerpts a lengthy bit from a Washington Post article on the shortage of 'affordable housing'. The Fly Under the Bridge Academy Committee on Making it Short, but Sweet edits for the Bingo Moment:
...in many communities, local regulations have stifled multifamily housing and even modest single-family housing. Minimum lot requirements, minimum parking requirements, density restrictions and other controls go well beyond the traditional mission of the building code and end up artificially reducing the development of safe, affordable housing.
.... Economist Christopher Thornberg notes that California's private market added 120,000 urban rental units in 1987; in the first half of 2006, the total was just 232. The main obstacle, Thornberg concludes, is "the intransigence of local zoning boards."
In other words, the best thing local officials can do to promote affordable housing is to get out of the way....