01. July 2005 · Comments Off on Do Democrats Equal High Housing Values? · Categories: Ain't That America?

This From OpinionJournal’s Best of The Web:

House Party
Liberal blogger Steve Smith observes, intriguingly but inconclusively, that
there is a strong correlation “between a robust housing market and Democratic
voting patterns”:

In fact, the correllation [sic] gets stronger the further back you go in
time. While there are a handful of Blue States in the third quartile of the
housing market for 2004, and only one (Michigan) near the bottom, only one
Blue State (Michigan, again) was in the lower half from 2000-2004. Going back
even further in time, every state (and the District of Columbia) that voted
for John Kerry last year, without exception, was among the top 24 states in
the country in terms of the increase in residential property values since
1980. The 27 states with the lowest rate of increase, again without exception,
voted for George Bush. Only four Red States (Virginia, Florida, Nevada and
Colorado), placed in the Booming 24, and Kerry was competitive in each of
those states.

I don’t know what it all means, but I thought I’d share that with you.

Mickey Kaus notes this and asks:

Do Democrats produce rising home values or do rising home values make people
Democrats? (The latter seems implausible.) Are both phenomena related to high
education levels and/or a large concentration of universities? And how does
this correlation jibe with the much advertised GOP dominance in the fastest-growing
states, which you’d think would be states with rapidly appreciating real estate?
Explain it away if you can, Michael Barone!

Well, we’re not Michael Barone, but here are three factors that may explain
it in part:

First, Democrats help produce rising home values by supporting development
and labor regulations that suppress new construction, thus limiting the supply
of housing.

Second, geography produces both Democrats and rising home values. That is,
Dems tend to prefer living in old cities that are already built up and that
often have physical barriers to sprawl (i.e., oceans, lakes and rivers). The
housing supply in these places is less elastic than in Republican-leaning cities
like Phoenix and Dallas.

Third, low housing prices attract Republicans. As the Los Angeles Times reported
in November (and we noted):

In this month’s election, President Bush carried 97 of the nation’s 100 fastest-growing
counties, most of them “exurban” communities that are rapidly transforming
farmland into subdivisions and shopping malls on the periphery of major metropolitan
areas. . . .

These growing areas, filled largely with younger families fleeing urban centers
in search of affordable homes, are providing the GOP a foothold in blue Democratic-leaning
states and solidifying the party’s control over red Republican-leaning states.

In other words, housing prices are low in Republican areas because there’s
enough land and enough freedom for the supply to keep up with the demand, whereas
in Democratic areas housing is expensive because it is scarce, for both natural
and artificial reasons.

I think the idea merits further investigation.

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