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Opinion
Virginia Postrel

How I Caused California’s Housing Crisis

Efforts in the 1980s to curb the state’s explosive growth are having unintended consequences three decades later.

Sure, there’s property in LA … if you have $2 million to $3 million.

Sure, there’s property in LA … if you have $2 million to $3 million.

Photographer: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

The Southern California housing crisis turns out to be my fault — indirectly, that is.

When my husband and I moved to Los Angeles in 1986, we were thrilled with how easy it was to find a place to live, even on the desirable Westside. Compared to Boston, where we’d previously been, apartments were plentiful and reasonably priced. Although we rented a place in a mid-century fourplex, the city was full of new construction, including sizable apartment and condo complexes.