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California’s Needless Housing Crisis

Everyone agrees the most attractive areas in California suffer from a housing crisis that calls for drastic action. The difficult question is deciding what should be done. Many of the challenges are embodied in the small California town of Mountain View. The tight supply of housing has raised the price of the median home to about $1.4 million. Rents, too, have skyrocketed, resulting in the displacement of many long-term tenants who have to endure long daily commutes to work or find jobs elsewhere.

The explanation for the situation lies in the heavy hand of government regulation on the operation of housing markets through tools like zoning and rent control laws, endless permitting requirements, and a host of other restrictions that go far beyond what is needed to control the health and safety risks associated with real- estate development.

The incredible mess in the California housing markets is not a product of bad luck. It is the consequence of horrible laws whose destructive impact is all too evident in the daily hardship and senseless political battles now raging across the state.

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