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Don’t Blame Tech Bros for the Housing Crisis (nytimes.com)
30 points by mistersquid 6 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 7 comments





I really don’t understand any of these articles about the housing crisis in California. They always have points that seem intuitively completely wrong. For example:

> That property is zoned as industrial, so if it shifts to residential use, which generates limited property taxes, San Jose stands to lose tax revenue.

Even with Prop 13, give the soaring sale prices of new homes, all municipalities in the Bay Area have been experiencing explosive growth in tax revenue over the last 40 years. This makes it sound like they’re struggling to maintain revenue which is crazy.

The town I live in, Redwood City, has had its taxable base increase from $13B to $23B in the last 10 years without having to provide ANYTHING new. There has been no major civil engineering projects, no increase in public transportation, absolutely nothing reasonable to pour that money into.

Bay Area taxes are a scam and these towns are flush in so much fucking cash they should be drowning. I don’t get it.


I don't see how this violates intuition.

The decisions to not build more residential housing and instead have more commercial development weren't made today. They were made decades ago back when home prices and tax revenues were not so high. You cannot just will high taxes into existence. People need an income source that allows these high taxes in the first place. The bay area heavily favored commercial development at the expense of residential development. The end result is that the Bay Area has a lot of high income jobs and those high income jobs need a home and the people holding these jobs are willing to pay more than anyone else.

Because of policy decisions a lot of medium income people are grandfathered into low property taxes and have an incentive to keep their house and sell it to someone with a high income. If the city now suddenly started building more housing as a response to the housing crisis then property owners would have to compete with new construction and see their home value shrink.

By the way. If opposing construction was really about preserving the character of the neighborhood then property owners would have been equally opposed to new commercial construction because the new influx of money is guaranteed to change the character of the neighborhood.


You can read this.

https://lao.ca.gov/reports/2012/tax/property-tax-primer-1129...

Part of the problem is property taxes are collected by the county and then redistributed. And the amount of state funding depends also on the amount of property tax collected.

The whole thing is a Byzantine mess due to Prop 13.


It's refreshing to see some knowledge of supply and demand being shown regarding the housing market in a mainstream forum: "The spiraling housing costs in West Coast tech hubs are the result of 40 years of tax and land use policy."

I look at it as producers vs rentiers. Major cities are controlled by price fixing supply restricting frontier cartels. Producers of art, culture, etc. have already been priced out of cities like SF. The tech people are the only ones left who can afford the rent, but they will be driven out too.

My first thought was "it took them that long to realize this?!". Really with housing there is a history of absolute selfishness even to their own detriment across all economic and social strata.

Then again "tech bro" itself is a shibboleth of tribalism and ignorance in itself. As a community like all it has many things to criticize of varying legitimacy objectively and subjectively. Instead it is like the Greco-Roman "Barbarian" - an outgroup term broad to the point or uselessness.


If there is demand for housing, we would expect people to be finding land and building housing unless there are policies that prevent this (and/or long commutes that people don't want to suffer) or higher-value opportunities.

If the city wanted residential areas (over commercial tax revenue giants), the city should have zoned residential.

The people elect city leaders. The people all want affordable housing.

With $4.5b from corporations and nowhere to build but out or up, high rise residential is the most likely outcome. (Which is typical for dense urban areas that have prioritized and attracted corporate tax revenue over affordable housing)

... Effing scooter bros with their scooters and their gold rush money and their tiny houses.

[Edit: more than] One company says "I will pay you $10,000 to leave the Bay Area / Silicon Valley" Because there's a lot of tech talent (because universities and opportunities) but ridiculously high expenses.

What an effectual headline from NY.




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