Local Land-Use Reform Can Save Money and Raise Wages

Americans who are struggling to pay their bills or to increase their standard of living would get a big lift if local governments around the country reduced the regulation of land use and strengthened individual property rights. Too many local governments have bought into the harmful ideas that cities and suburbs ought to be “planned” by experts and that new construction generally imposes a net cost on other residents. In addition to saving money, less regulation would promote upward mobility and economic growth by making it easier for Americans to move to high-wage cities.

Reforming residential land-use regulation would save American households $209 billion a year. For the average household, that works out to $1,700 to add to retirement savings or spend on current needs. In addition, lower housing costs would allow more working-class families to move to areas with high-paying jobs.

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