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The Journalists' Guide to the American Dream (html)

The Journalists' Guide to the American Dream (pdf, 2.2 mb)

Fact Sheet on Rail Transit (80-KB pdf file)

Rail Disasters 2005 (2.5 MB pdf file)

Report by Randal O'Toole finds rail transit strongly associated with reduced transit ridership

Is Housing in Your City or Region Overpriced?

Here are a number of ways you can tell if housing in your area is overpriced. All of the data mentioned here are in the appendix on pages 39 to 46 of the Planning Penalty report, or you can use the links below to go to the original data sources.

  1. Look up your city (or one nearby) in the Coldwell Banker home price index, which is based on a standard, four-bedroom, 2,200-square-foot home that Coldwell Banker considers suitable for "corporate middle managers." If the price is more than $200,000, your region is probably overpriced.
  2. Download our spreadsheet of metro-area data. Go to the "Penalties" sheet, scroll up to find your metropolitan area, and scroll to the right to column U, the 2005 value-to-income ratio.* Housing is probably overpriced if the ratio for your area is more than 2.2. It is certainly overpriced if the ratio is more than 2.6.
  3. On the same spreadsheet, scroll right to column AI, which shows the annual growth rate in housing prices between 1999 and 2005. This is based on the Department of Commerce's house price index. Housing is almost certainly overpriced if the annual price growth in your area is more than about 3 percent.

If your city or region is overpriced, is there some reason for this overpricing other than government land-use restrictions? The only places we could find in which government planning rules seemed to play no role were Reno and Las Vegas.

* The value-to-income ratio is column O, median-home value, divided by column I, median-family income. Median-home value, in turn, is based on table H85 of summary file 3 from the 2000 census, updated to 2005 using the Department of Commerce's house price index. The 1999 median-home value in the census is adjusted to 2005 dollars using the price deflators on page 185 of the federal budget. The median-family income is from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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