It seems I am something of the regular discussant on the economics of housing issues in Grand Forks and North Dakota. I was a roundtable participant tonight where the topic was affordable housing. There is still no evidence of a market malfunction if you will. One of the issues here is the general perception that markets function in the manner shown in an introductory economics class. Specifically, when we shift supply and demand curves in class or on paper it appears to be an instantaneous adjustment. Essentially we are cutting to the chase.
The last several months saw a great deal of public outcry about the housing situation in Grand Forks. This was something of a spaghetti argument: Let’s throw a whole host of issues against the wall and something will stick. Topics included the affordability of housing, the availability of housing, the quality of housing, and so on.
The financial crisis still dominates the mindset of many callers when I go on the radio. It is also interesting teaching a new crop of students this year. Many of them are at that age where they were just starting to pay attention to business, the economy, and public affairs when the crisis hit. That is to say, it is really all they know that is not from a history book. As a result the start of the banking class this year has discussed the crisis quite a bit. One of the discussions we had recently was about banks attempting to cash in on the increased value of homes.