Zoning in Houston – A Boon or Curse

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As compared to other counties, the number of  foreclosures are comparatively less. The county has somehow restricted itself to the sidelines where the national foreclosure crisis is concerned. Houston foreclosures are not swelling with new foreclosures every week and the housing prices have been quite stable i.e.: they have not really taken the plunge like in some of the other neighboring counties or even states. In fact, the overall housing prices have remained at a modest level and the only factor ensuring the stability of prices is the easy availability of land.

Houston has a generous abundance of space some of which are protected while others are not. But this is not the only reason! The second reason is the lack of zoning as pointed out by Bill Gilmer, a senior economist with the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas’ Houston branch. From the perspective of economy, the zoning laws have worked like a restriction of supply. According to Gilmer, the zoning laws have played an important role in raising the price of constructing a new-home and as a result of the supply restrictions, the price increased.

Due to the increasing housing demand, several states and their cities as well as counties have formulated tight laws on zoning and add to it the limited supply and this has led to a steep and rapid rise in home prices. At the end of the day, the rapidly rising prices snuff out the demand and cause disturbances like the crumbling of the different mortgage markets in different cities. The final result is foreclosure.

Although, there are several houston bank in the state of Texas but overall the demand for homes has been met through new home constructions as opposed to rising prices. The immediate effect was that Houston was saved from the severe effects of the real estate bubble burst. The bottom line is that lack of zoning has ensured that there is comparatively less in houston.

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