April 29, 2023
The Connecticut legislature is attempting to make housing more affordable by requiring the wealthier towns to build more rental housing. But my friend and former Republican Congressional candidate for the Fourth District – Dr. Michael Goldstein – has a much better idea: affordable ownership.
Not only do homeowners have a higher stake in their community, but owning one’s abode is a forced savings plan. Homeowners have a net worth forty times that of renters! This is a major factor in the wealth disparity between Blacks and whites in this country. White families have an average net worth of $171,000 but Blacks families only have a net worth of $17,500.
Why? Because Blacks have a lower percentage of home ownership. Furthermore, Blacks who own homes are often sequestered in cities such as Bridgeport with inferior schools, unsafe neighborhoods and outrageously high taxes property taxes that support white pensioners living in Florida pursuing single-digit handicaps. Thus, homes owned by Blacks do not appreciate significantly in value.
Below is Dr. Goldstein’s article:
All of the affordable housing bills pending before the Connecticut State Legislature are about providing more affordable rental housing not affordable owned housing in Connecticut. Most accomplish it through building market rate rentals with a small percentage of affordable rental units that after a certain time revert to market rental rates.
Towns where affordable condominiums or homes are either constructed or repurposed from commercial units do not count towards a town or city’s affordable housing stock. This is sending a message that the Connecticut Legislature is against towns striving to increase the rate of home ownership by working class and middle class residents.
The argument that affordable owned units cannot be constructed by any means is incorrect. The proof is that affordable, not luxury affordable housing can be built is that it was done on a large scale in the post World War II period.
At the end of World War II a large number of soldiers returned home, quickly married and needed housing for their new families. Creating political stability required employment and the opportunity to live the “American Dream” of employment, home ownership and family.
Entrepreneurial builders overcame the obstacles of what had been an expensive and inefficient housing industry which was plagued with shortages leading to higher pricing and unaffordability. This was accomplished using the Levitt Model of building smaller sized houses that were built in an assembly line model where the assembly line moved from house to house completing up to 30 houses a day. 1 This occurred despite the fact that during the 1950’s land values in prime suburban neighborhoods had increased by as much as 3,000%.
Unlike the 1950’s the demand for the builder to run an assembly line has been replaced with an economy of scale alternative the modular home. Condominiums with smaller footprints per unit require less land overcoming the high land cost obstacle.
New affordable housing should prioritize affordable ownership rather than rentals. Towns should work to find appropriate sites where they can be built and streamline the regulatory process for affordable home construction.