Thoughts on the generational aspect of our housing crisis
I hope you will consider coming to Charlottesville, my college town and where I live now, as a single mother in my 50s (I grew up in Waterford, about which you wrote recently, and would no longer want to live in even Western Loudoun: Waterford has been destroyed by cut-through traffic all morning and all afternoon; kids can no longer safely walk to our elementary school and it’s impossible to get in or out of the village to run errands unless you go when the commuters have finished or not resumed their drive home through town). Charlottesville is basically a sleepy Southern college town; money from UVA students and retirees have guaranteed steady building of high-end housing, and gentrification and the bloating of UVA Administration jobs and an influx of white-collar companies have contributed to the elevation of housing prices both in town and in the County, where McMansions abound (nothing quite as garish as Great Falls and the atrocities that line 193 - the lovely road that wends by my high school, Madeira, and in the 80s also passed several modest houses and small farms as it entered Great Falls en route to Dranesville). But we are pricing out all of our creative class (much like Austin and other large cities), and in the 4 years since the Klan visited us, white, liberal Charlottesville has done little to address affordable housing and wealth inequality for its poor residents (both white and POC). We have erected one monument and removed some statues, but a proposal to build AHUs in the City has met resistance. I invite you to come and visit; we have Loudoun/NoVa/Austin-class problems, right here in the middle of red-state Virginia. ❤️
Salutations, Mr. Del Mastro,
Relevant to this post of yours is a notable essay John Holbo wrote, back in '03. on "Donner Party Conservatism", at
Mayhaps you haven't had a chance to read it yet; trust you'll find it worthwhile if you do.
Excellent write up. Sadly the owners of expensive property and more acutely, second homes in tourist destinations fail to see the problem. COVID woke some people up to issues on the Cape when cheap labor could not be imported from Europe on student visas. With more and more housing becoming over priced second homes that sit vacant most of the year, where are the people who staff all the places that make a tourist destination worth spending time at supposed to live?
I'm curious about how this plays out in terms of transfer over the next 20 years. Many retired boomers are sitting in large suburban homes, which are going to be inherited by their x/ennial kids.
I was sitting next to an older woman at a fancy event who owned 35,000 apartments, mostly in NYC. (Her family has its name on the Planetarium here). I think we need progressive real estate taxation, i.e. the tax rate on property #2 is higher than it is on property #1. There is a lot of land in this country and there are a lot of houses. But much of it is an investment for the few before it's a home for the many.
Interesting read. Your last paragraph sums up the situation quite well. Thank you.
Good column, though I would question the assumption that I66 will quickly fill up faster than predicted. "Induced demand" doesn't apply the same way to tolled roads.