Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Of Interest

This article was first published more than three years ago, but it was recently referenced on Facebook by Strong Towns"Two Perspectives on the Housing Crisis: Affordable Housing vs Housing Affordability." It is relevant to the current conversation in Hudson around affordable housing. 


  1. Thanks Carole. A very interesting read.

  2. I'm thinking that the "housing crisis" us actually an income crisis. The corporate sector and the banks and their lackeys in Washington have rigged the game so that working and middle class people are stretched to the breaking point. It might be that we have an income crisis, rather than a housing problem.

  3. Overall the problem is fundamentally that the amount of new housing being built is not keeping up with population growth. You see that most acutely in places like California where the median price of a home is now $800,000 and well over a million in San Francisco, and in New York City where the average home is almost $800,000 and housing growth is not keeping up with the population (NYC added an amount of people equal to the city of Boston from 2010 to 2020, but the amount of housing did not keep up with the population growth), but it is also being felt in popular small towns like Hudson, especially ones that are near huge job centers like New York City. Freddie Mac recently estimated the country has a shortfall of about 4 million homes.

    Here’s a recent Vox article about it: https://www.vox.com/videos/2021/8/17/22628750/how-the-us-made-affordable-homes-illegal

    The New York Times opinion page recently put out an informative video about the problem: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/09/opinion/democrats-blue-states-legislation.html

    The issue with cities like Hudson is how to address rising demand for housing. The obvious solution to rising demand for housing in a place when there is a fixed supply of housing is simply to build more housing. If there is rising demand for limited supply, then prices will rise. If new housing is built, pricess will fall. But Hudson doesn’t seem to want to take many steps to increase the housing stock. For example, it could eliminate historic preservation laws to allow as-of-right development and eliminate the preservation commission’s ability to block new housing that does not fit the “character” of the neighborhood (i.e., anything new tall. It could reform the zoning laws to allow accessory dwelling units (in-law suits), more multifamily buildings, and taller buildings. It could create incentives for new apartment buildings to be build. It recently increased fees for renovation work; it could reduce them or eliminate them to incentivize renovation work on existing dilapidated houses, allowing them to be brought back into the housing stock.

    Instead, Hudson is taking many steps that will make the problem worse. The proposed for-cause eviction law will raise rental prices by reducing the amount of housing stock made available to renters. Homeowners in Hudson will not want to rent out their homes to tenants in the first place if they are forced to renew their leases each year instead of having the option of taking their home back for their own use, are prohibited from setting their rent at the market rate, or are forced to hire lawyers and wait months or years to get an eviction order before they can remove a tenant who is not paying rent or violating the lease.

    The short-term rental law also made things worse, by reducing tourism and business activity and therefore a source of income for residents, and by cutting off a revenue source that the city badly needs. There are not many affordable options for people who want to visit Hudson, which relies on tourism and visitors for business and therefore for the income people need to pay for housing.

    I wish the city’s elected leaders, instead of cutting off business and reducing the amount of housing options in Hudson, instead would actually promote growth and try taking steps to actually increase the amount of housing.