Monthly Archives: August 2010

What’s Behind China’s Big Traffic Jam

http://www.newgeography.com/content/001745-what’s-behind-china’s-big-traffic-jam

Excerpts…

Beijing’s inner area traffic congestion is like that of New York City. The population density is 30,000 people per square mile (the approximate density also of the four New York boroughs), too high to move the volume of traffic over a freeway and expressway system. Higher population densities are associated with greater traffic congestion, slower speeds, stop and go traffic and more intense pollution. Beijing and New York share all of these conditions.

There is a perception that the traffic situation could become substantially worse in Beijing, and that could well be the case. However, it is surprising that the Bejing (the city/province) is already well along in private vehicle ownership and use. Beijing has achieved a car ownership rate almost equal to that of New York City’s dense boroughs. In 2008, the dense boroughs of New York City had 0.52 cars per household, while Beijing had achieved a 0.51 rate. One report now places Beijing’s car ownership one third higher than in 2008, which would place Beijing’s car ownership rate 20% above that of New York City.

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Commuter Rail Brings Slower Transit in Austin

http://www.newgeography.com/content/001744-commuter-rail-brings-slower-transit-austin

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Australia 2010: Unstable Politics in a Prosperous Country

http://www.newgeography.com/content/001743-australia-2010-unstable-politics-a-prosperous-country

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Economists: Misconstruing Land Markets in Las Vegas & Phoenix

Excerpts:

Paul Krugman got it right. But it should not have taken a Nobel Laureate to note that the emperor’s nakedness with respect to the connection between the housing bubble and more restrictive land use regulation.

A just published piece by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, however, shows that much of the economics fraternity still does not "get it." InReasonable People Did Disagree: Optimism and Pessimism About the U.S. Housing Market Before the Crash, Kristopher S. Gerardi, Christopher L. Foote and Paul S. Willen conclude that it was reasonable for economists to have missed the bubble.

Misconstruing Las Vegas and Phoenix: They fault Krugman for making the bubble/land regulation connection by noting that the "places in the United States where the housing market most resembled a bubble were Phoenix and Las Vegas," noting that both urban areas have "an abundance of surrounding land on which to accommodate new construction" (Note 1).

An abundance of land is of little use when it cannot be built upon.

Building is largely impossible on the "abundance of land" surrounding Las Vegas and Phoenix. Las Vegas and Phoenix have virtual urban growth boundaries, formed by encircling federal and state lands.

In both cases, prices per acre rose at approximately the same annual rate as in Beijing, which some consider to have the world’s largest housing bubble. According to Joseph Gyourko of Wharton, along with Jing Wu and Yongheng Deng Beijing prices rose 800 percent from 2003 to 2008

More at…
http://www.newgeography.com/content/001739-the-housing-bubble-the-economists-should-have-known

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The Bubble: Economists Should Have Known (Krugman Did)

Excerpts:

Paul Krugman got it right. But it should not have taken a Nobel Laureate to note that the emperor’s nakedness with respect to the connection between the housing bubble and more restrictive land use regulation.

A just published piece by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, however, shows that much of the economics fraternity still does not "get it." InReasonable People Did Disagree: Optimism and Pessimism About the U.S. Housing Market Before the Crash, Kristopher S. Gerardi, Christopher L. Foote and Paul S. Willen conclude that it was reasonable for economists to have missed the bubble.

Misconstruing Las Vegas and Phoenix: They fault Krugman for making the bubble/land regulation connection by noting that the "places in the United States where the housing market most resembled a bubble were Phoenix and Las Vegas," noting that both urban areas have "an abundance of surrounding land on which to accommodate new construction" (Note 1).

An abundance of land is of little use when it cannot be built upon.

Building is largely impossible on the "abundance of land" surrounding Las Vegas and Phoenix. Las Vegas and Phoenix have virtual urban growth boundaries, formed by encircling federal and state lands.

In both cases, prices per acre rose at approximately the same annual rate as in Beijing, which some consider to have the world’s largest housing bubble. According to Joseph Gyourko of Wharton, along with Jing Wu and Yongheng Deng Beijing prices rose 800 percent from 2003 to 2008

More at…
http://www.newgeography.com/content/001739-the-housing-bubble-the-economists-should-have-known

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China’s Sliver of a Housing Bubble

To accurately assess housing affordability it is necessary to have complete data. Housing affordability cannot be assessed in London using data from Belgravia, nor will Upper East Side data tell an accurate story about New York. The same is true in China. Stephen Roach said that China has a "sliver of a bubble." That’s what the data seems to show.

More at…
http://www.newgeography.com/content/001733-chinas-sliver-a-housing-bubble

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REIA Welcomes Coalition Plan on Housing (Australia)

From the Real Estate Institute of Australia….

The REIA supports the Coalition’s proposal to encourage states, territories and local
government to release land, cut red tape, improve planning processes and reduce charges.”

The REIA has noted that supply has been unable to keep pace with demand due to constraints on land
availability, lengthy planning delays, skills shortages and the cost of entering the property market,
including state government charges.

http://www.reia.com.au/userfiles/MEDIARELEASE_1282208655.pdf

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Liberal Coalition Housing Policy Applauded (Australia)

Liberal Coalition Housing Policy Applauded

Friday, 20 August 2010, 3:39 pm
Press Release: Hugh Pavletich

The Australian Liberal Coalition Housing Policy released today, is a significant first step, in dealing with the real structural problems currently denying Australians their right to the opportunity of affordable owned and rental housing.

As the Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Surveys illustrate year after year, Australia has the worst housing affordability problem, when compared with New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada and the United States.

This year’s Survey released late January (data 3rd quarter 2009) found that in the major cities, Australians were forced to pay 6.8 times their gross annual household income to house themselves.

The situation has worsened since then.

Following Australia’s 2007 Federal election, the Sydney Morning Herald commissioned Fitch Ratings Research to examine why the then Liberal led Government failed and Labor won.

More at…
http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/BU1008/S00658/liberal-coalition-housing-policy-applauded.htm

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Australian Opposition to Loosen Land for Housing

http://www.newgeography.com/content/001727-australian-opposition-loosen-land-housing

Excerpts

The opposition Liberal-National Coalition, locked in a close battle with the ruling Labor Party in Australia’s Saturday elections, has adopted a housing policy to improve the nation’s housing affordability. The policy would require states to monitor housing affordability and to release more land for development. There would also be a review of the efficacy of development charges.

Housing affordability has been an issue of substantial concern in Australia for years and has emerged as the top concern among voters in this election. State governments have talked about housing affordability, but have done little. Over the past five years, house prices have continued to rise relative to incomes. Just in the last nine months, a mortgage payment on the median priced house has risen from $500 in Adelaide to more than $800 in Sydney.

The Coalition policy, however, represents the second significant development in recent weeks (Note). The first was anexpansion of the Melbourne urban growth boundary by 440 square kilometers. All of this may signal an overdue attention to housing affordability in Australia.

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Why Apple and Google are Saving the Auto

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/columns/Why-Apple-and-Google-are-saving-the-automobile-1009180-100449244.html

Mark Tapscott: Why Apple and Google are saving the automobile

By: Mark Tapscott
Editorial Page Editor
August 13, 2010

Excerpt…

Now compare that to the private passenger car. Unlike the public transit subway, train or bus that only takes me where and when its convenient for it, my car enables me to drive wherever my heart desires.

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