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Economics

How to Make San Francisco’s Housing More Affordable

Dec. 13 (Bloomberg) -- On many economic issues, such as the minimum wage, there is a trade-off between freedom and equality. When it comes to San Francisco’s high housing costs, however, libertarianism and egalitarianism are on the same side. And San Franciscans who are angry about these costs should be fighting for less government -- or at least for more freedom for developers -- because the surest way to a more equitable housing market is to reduce the barriers to building.

Life is harder for U.S. renters in general, as a new report by my colleagues at Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies shows. The number of renters is increasing and rents are rising steeply in professionally managed apartments, as public housing assistance is reduced and renters’ income has decreased.