In this segment of What’s Ahead, I examine why housing prices have risen far faster than personal incomes, thereby unnecessarily putting homeownership out of reach for millions of people. The two villains are increasingly severe land-use regulations and ever more protracted approval processes. California has led the way in both. In contrast, such states as Texas, North Carolina and Georgia have resisted these disastrous trends. Result? The enormous demands in these states for more housing are being met at affordable prices. The conclusion is clear: Get rid of California-like burdens, and the dream of homeownership will become a reality for millions of people.
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