The Local Residential Land Use Regulatory Environment Across U.S. Housing Markets: Evidence from a New Wharton Index

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Citation: Joseph Gyourko, Jonathan Hartley, Jacob Krimmel The Local Residential Land Use Regulatory Environment Across U.S. Housing Markets: Evidence from a New Wharton Index.


Wikidata: Q80125765


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Summary:

Results from a new survey of the residential land use regulatory environment in more than 2,450 primarily suburban communities across a wide array of metropolitan areas throughout the US. Construct a measure of regulatory restrictiveness called the Wharton Residential Land Use Regulatory Index (WRLURI2018) following up on WRLURI2006.

Based on how the same community answered identical questions across both surveys:

  1. The fundamental nature of the local regulatory environment has not changed much. Specific tools have not been adopted or abandoned en masse.
  2. There is no evidence that the Great Recession ledto widespread declines in regulatory intensity.
  3. The number of entities needed to approve projects requiring a zoning variance is increasing in the typical place. Density controls are also used more widely and are more severe on average. The use of minimum lot sizes to control density is now almost omnipresent. And, it is no longer uncommon to see one acre (or greater) minimums in suburban areas; this was much rarer in the 2006 data. The one exception is impact fees on developers; propensity to impose fell by one-third, from about 75% in the 2006 survey to 50% in 2018.