Being green is rarely a black-and-white issue -- but that doesn't stop marketers and politicians from pretending it is.
In response to Palmer: If someone would like to live in San Francisco because they work there, but cannot due to lack of housing, they would move to a city a little farther away. The next person wanting to live in San Francisco may have to move even farther away if all of the spots in that next city are taken. This process would repeat itself until you find people commuting very far distances. This means that more resources (gas) are used in people travelling to work. This is definitely happening in San Francisco and other major cities, albeit more for economic reasons. But, if San Francisco were to make more housing available, costs could go down and people might would be commuting less. Homes are definitely being built in cities far away from San Francisco (e.g. Vacaville, Tracy) so the economist's point is correct in my view.
His idea that if they don't build a house in one place it will only force another place to build a house? Really? Like, if I can't build a house in SF I will simply move to Houston - where they are building houses? I wonder how many people actually do this. My guess:0. I worked in housing construction supplies for years and there are only 3 determinants of whether someone builds or buys a home, ANYWHERE: The growth or shrinkage of the MSA population, the age and condition of housing stock and the easy availability of "cheap" credit. The housing market is not a nation wide see-saw.
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