Is agricultural zoning exclusionary?
AbstractIn rapidly suburbanizing areas, minimum lot sizes of ten acres or greater are often used to discourage residential development and to maintain agricultural critical mass. Because of significant development pressure in these places, there is a good chance these lot size regulations will bind. Such “down-zoning” often appears alongside the purchase of agricultural and conservation easements that reduce housing development even more. Whatever the benefits of such policies for agriculture and the environment, they raise obvious concerns about housing supply and affordability. The issue of affordability should be analyzed at the regional scale, since we would normally expect some high-income, low density enclaves to exist within any metropolitan area. In addition, the analyst should look beyond median home price to compare the distribution of a region’s available housing stock to the distribution of its income. A primary hypothesized effect of large-lot zoning is that it skews the distribution of available housing upward relative to the distribution of income. The present study will use a unique dataset on the New Jersey Highlands region to help answer the fundamental question posed by its title. This dataset includes historical data on the lot size minima imposed on every residential acre in the 83 Highlands municipalities, as well as real estate listing data on thousands of residential transactions in these 83 municipalities. Data from the U.S. Census are used to examine the distribution of income among New Jersey residents who ought to be served by the housing stock in the Highlands. The study finds that in the 1990s and 2000s, the stock of Highlands housing was skewed high relative to the metropolitan incomes available to purchase it, even with renters excluded from the analysis. Using a simple threshold of three times household income, the bottom 30% of households were consistently able to afford fewer than 30% of the homes coming on the market, while the top earners could afford a disproportionately large share of the available housing. At the same time, the study was unable to document a deterioration in Highlands housing affordability in the 1990s and 2000s that was attributable to anything other than the national housing bubble. Down-zoning is likely to affect the mix of housing types on the margin, while the majority of real estate transactions involve homes that were built several decades ago. This suggests either a separate analysis of new construction, or a longer time series on home types and prices that would capture the effects of restrictive zoning over several decades.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Agricultural and Applied Economics Association in its series 2011 Annual Meeting, July 24-26, 2011, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with number 103562.
Date of creation: 02 May 2011
Date of revision:
Contact details of provider:
Postal: 555 East Wells Street, Suite 1100, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53202
Phone: (414) 918-3190
Fax: (414) 276-3349
Web page: http://www.aaea.org
More information through EDIRC
Land use; zoning; housing; equity; Community/Rural/Urban Development; Consumer/Household Economics; Land Economics/Use;
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Gan, Quan & Hill, Robert J., 2009.
"Measuring housing affordability: Looking beyond the median,"
Journal of Housing Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 115-125, June.
- Quan Gan & Robert J. Hill, 2008. "Measuring Housing Affordability: Looking Beyond the Median," Discussion Papers 2008-09, School of Economics, The University of New South Wales.
- Carliner, Geoffrey, 1973. "Income Elasticity of Housing Demand," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 55(4), pages 528-32, November.
- Hansen, Julia L. & Formby, John P. & Smith, W. James, 1998. "Estimating the Income Elasticity of Demand for Housing: A Comparison of Traditional and Lorenz-Concentration Curve Methodologies," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(4), pages 328-342, December.
- Edward L. Glaeser & Joseph Gyourko, 2002.
"The Impact of Zoning on Housing Affordability,"
NBER Working Papers
8835, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Edward L. Glaeser & Joseph Gyourko, 2002. "The Impact of Zoning on Housing Affordability," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1948, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
- Edward L. Glaeser & Joseph Gyourko, . "The Impact of Zoning on Housing Affordability," Zell/Lurie Center Working Papers 395, Wharton School Samuel Zell and Robert Lurie Real Estate Center, University of Pennsylvania.
- Edward L. Glaeser & Joseph Gyourko & Raven Saks, 2005.
"Why Have Housing Prices Gone Up?,"
NBER Working Papers
11129, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Edward L. Glaeser & Joseph Gyourko & Raven E. Saks, 2005. "Why Have Housing Prices Gone Up?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 2061, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
- Quigley, John M. & Rosenthal, Larry A., 2005. "The Effects of Land-Use Regulation on the Price of Housing: What Do We Know? What Can We Learn?," Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy, Working Paper Series qt90m9g90w, Berkeley Program on Housing and Urban Policy.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (AgEcon Search).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.