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News Link • Economy - Economics USA

Zoning Laws Hurt the Poor the Most

• https://fee.org, Michael H. Wilson

On February 14, 2008, a Seattle Times article showed that almost 45 percent of the price of a home was to cover the costs of "land-use regulations." To be clear, those are zoning regulations. On a $447,800 home, $200,000 of that price was for regulations.

For most people graduating from school, getting a job with a livable wage, developing a relationship, and perhaps starting a family are big steps in life. However, the government has its hand in your pocket all the way, as many young, first-time homebuyers are finding out.

Housing Costs

According to a US Department of Labor study, in 1901 families in the United States spent 23.3 percent of their income on housing. By 1934-1936, families were spending 32 percent of their income on housing.

Today, housing consumes over 30 percent of our income for most of us, and those in the lowest 20 percent of income bracket are paying almost 40 percent of their income for housing. Costs decline from there, with the wealthiest quintile paying 29.9 percent of their income for housing.

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