Patiently Explaining How Housing Works

I’m glad that Matthew Yglesias and Kim-Mai Cutler are here to slowly step through basic supply-and-demand concepts for the people throwing tantrums about gentrification, because, as you may have already figured out, I lack the patience.  Here’s Yglesias’ key point on what should be obvious to everyone:

The problem with this kind of skepticism of the value of luxury development is that it forgets to consider the counterfactual. If there had been no new expensive real estate projects in Washington, DC over the past ten years it’s not as if the rich people who live in them would vanish. Some of them would be bidding up the price of other units elsewhere in the city, and some of them would be living in some other city bidding up the rents there.

It sounds stupid to say it, but I genuinely think that some of the protesters imagine that if rich people weren’t living in SF, they wouldn’t live anywhere.

Cutler’s piece is long and exhaustive, possibly exhausting, but is a good catch-up for people wondering what the hell is going on.


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