Will trailer parks save us all?

Or are they the new shantytowns?  Or a bit of both?  There is a new article on this topic:

A healthy, inexpensive, environmentally friendly solution for housing millions of retiring baby boomers is staring us in the face. We just know it by a dirty name.

…To move into Pismodise you must meet four conditions: Be 55 or older, keep your dog under 20 pounds, be present when guests stay at your home, and be comfortable with what most Americans consider a very small house. “If you need more than 800 square feet I can’t help you,” says Louise with a shrug. There seems to be some leeway on the dog’s weight. The unofficial rules are no less definite: If you are attending the late-afternoon cocktail session on the porch of Space 329, bring your own can, bottle, or box to drink. If you are fighting with other residents, you still have to greet them when you run into them. Make your peace with the word “trailer trash.”

That is all by Lisa Margonelli, in the new Pacific Standard, which so far is turning out to be an interesting periodical.

This economization of living space is what you would expect if Henry George were right about land being an artificial monopoly.  On related matters, I was intrigued by this part of Bob Shiller’s column from last Sunday:

According to a 2007 study by Morris Davis of the University of Wisconsin and Jonathan Heathcote of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, the share of nonfarm home value accounted for by land rose to 36.4 percent in 2000 from 15.3 percent in 1930. In an update, they put the percentage at 23.7 percent in the third quarter of 2012.

In fact, except in some densely populated areas, the value of a home has always been mostly in the structure, not the land. But because land’s fraction was rising until recently, people may have been deluded into thinking that investments in housing and land were one and the same.

By 2000, many people appeared to have forgotten that when home prices rise sharply, builders are likely to increase the supply, which tends to bring prices back down. We had such a supply response in the 2000s, and with a vengeance.

Here is more.


Comments for this post are closed