Letter writer: There IS a silver bullet that could end the housing shortage in Asheville!

Graphic by Lori Deaton

There IS a silver bullet that could end the housing shortage in Asheville!

I just finished reading Triumph of the City by Edward Glaeser, in which he states the differences between successful cities and those that are declining. Regarding housing costs, the answer is simple: supply and demand. That is, where builders are not restricted by local laws or misplaced environmental concerns, they build lots of houses and the prices are low because of lots of supply (for example, Houston, Texas). Where NIMBYs fight for restrictions on housing development, builders build few homes and they turn out to be expensive because of demand (for example, New York City and California).

So, if housing development restrictions in Asheville could be done away with, there would soon be ample housing for all at affordable prices. Can politicians and their wealthy constituents muster the will to overturn many of the local restrictions? Possibly not, therefore the NIMBYs will remain in control, and housing will remain expensive in Asheville.

— Lowell Smith
Asheville

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4 thoughts on “Letter writer: There IS a silver bullet that could end the housing shortage in Asheville!

  1. Jim

    LOL, where are you going to build? Land supply is at a premium. Supply and demand means that those who are paying a premium for housing aren’t going to devalue their investments.

  2. mynameis

    Is it no wonder conservatism is waning, when “DEREGULATE!” — that one word, exclamation point and all — seems to be the entirety of their philosophy?

    Please tell me there’s more to your solution than that.

  3. Stefanie

    I’m sorry, but this is just foolishness. We moved from Houston, Texas to Asheville three years ago. Perhaps you’ve never been, but I spent the first 37 years of my life there. Let me disabuse you of your opinions of H-town vs. AVL:
    1. Housing in a desirable area of Houston is no longer affordable, and has not been for several years (yes, “desirable” is subjective, but proven over and over by home buyers)
    2. Houston has more urban blight than any other “successful city” I have ever been to. Why? Land is (was) cheap, and the builders are free to do as they please. It was historically cheaper to sprawl and start fresh than to demo an existing structure and clear the land. The result? Endless, ugly and neglected buildings lining freeway after freeway.
    3. Speaking of demo… Houston has very, very little concern for history. If you’d like some examples, Google Houston’s Freedman’s Town, Third Ward, The Houston Heights, Sears on Allen Parkway, the Shamrock Hotel… Good Lord, there are so many good things gone that I’m getting depressed.
    Moving from Houston to Asheville was the best decision we ever made. But now we’re just one more reason that the housing market has gotten so expensive. But more buildings will ruin Asheville. This is not the solution.

    • NFB

      “Moving from Houston to Asheville was the best decision we ever made. But now we’re just one more reason that the housing market has gotten so expensive. But more buildings will ruin Asheville. This is not the solution.”

      But we need more buildings because people are doing what you do. I certainly appreciate and even commend you for acknowledging that you moving here has had an effect on what is going one here as so many newcomers ignore that while they complain about the effects of people moving here but am curious to know what you see the solution being.

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