Sunday, November 19, 2017

Houston's cliches, people, image, and fast change; how new luxury units keep housing affordable, battling traffic, The Great Train Robbery, and more

Jumping right into this week's items, some of which I've had backlogged for a while (apologies).
"Here’s the takeway:  New housing is almost always built for and sold to the high end of the marketplace.  It was that way a hundred years ago and fifty years ago. But as it ages, housing depreciates and moves down market. The luxury apartments of two or three decades ago have lost most of their luster, and command relatively lower rents. And the truth is--that’s how we’ve always generated more affordable housing, through the process that economists call “filtering.”  And the new self-styled “luxury” apartments we’re building today will be the affordable housing of 2040 and 2050 and later. 
What causes affordability problems to arise is when we stop building new housing, or build it too slowly to cause aging housing to filter down-market. When new high priced housing doesn’t get built, demand doesn’t disappear, instead, those higher income households bid up the price of the existing housing stock, keeping it from becoming more affordable.  Which is why otherwise prosaic 1,500 foot ranch houses in Santa Monica sell for a couple of million bucks, while physically similar 1950’s era homes in the rest of the country are either now highly affordable–or candidates for demolition."
“The Sum of Small Things” both unearths evocative differences between big American cities—for example, Los Angeles leads in bottled-water consumption, while New York does in spending on shoes—and makes clear that the “aspirational class” Ms Currid-Halkett profiles is almost exclusively coastal and urban. However, that may yield a lopsided portrait of the top of the income pile: largely absent from her tale are the business-minded rich in politically conservative states. 
The reader learns that residents of Dallas and Houston dedicate unusually low shares of spending to housing costs and to fresh fruit, and a relatively high portion to textiles, furniture and beauty products such as wigs—but not whether the rich among them mimic their blue-state counterparts in seeking to project virtue via heirloom tomatoes and the like. Perhaps a sequel might explore the values of Sun Belt suburbanites, and how this other half of privileged Americans signal status through their spending.
Finally, I love this Houston "City of Doers" commercial from Chevron that was playing during the World Series. Fantastic image building for the city!  It'll make ya proud to be a Houstonian...

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At 8:19 PM, November 19, 2017, Blogger George Rogers said...

Need to fix the link for the economist article.

At 8:20 PM, November 19, 2017, Blogger George Rogers said...

The Economist article

At 10:39 PM, November 19, 2017, Blogger Tory Gattis said...

Fixed - thanks for the heads up!

At 2:44 PM, November 26, 2017, Blogger George Rogers said...

Local Control is preferable if Cities don't have annexation powers like in Texas.

At 12:27 PM, November 30, 2017, Anonymous Mike said...

Not quite true on housing always being built to the upper end of the market. More correct to say that it's built for the market, which today is mainly the top 20%, but used to be more middle-class. In 50's America, most houses built were one-story, even in nice areas. Look at older homes in Memorial, Bellaire, even Tanglewood - most or all are one-story. The New Deal had created a middle-class society and that's where purchasing power was, so that's who builders built for. Only River Oaks was a truly wealthy neighborhood with two-story houses. Now we are getting back to how society was in the early 1900's, with opulent houses and most people living in apartments. Luckily our large stock of older houses, cheaper construction, and yes, continuing new supply, will keep housing an option for many not in the top 20%.

At 12:10 PM, December 01, 2017, Blogger George Rogers said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 12:11 PM, December 01, 2017, Blogger George Rogers said...

California Rent Control Initiative


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