Another comment I had at the roundtable had to do with the concerns about housing and housing policy. Sometimes it is the case that simple solutions exist to economic problems. However I do not think it is the case with housing.
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.
I am working on some technical support for my positions regarding housing in Grand Forks but I will take a moment to reiterate that position here. Nobody illustrated to my satisfaction that Grand Forks ever had a housing “crisis.” Could there be circumstances where the types of housing available did not meet the particular demands of the people in the market? Sure. Could it be that builders focused on certain types of building which meant others types did not see new construction? You bet. Does any of this mean the market outcome is bad? No!
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.