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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Measuring Land-Use Regulations and Their Effects in the Housing Market

  • Author(s): Quigley, John M.
  • Raphael, Steven
  • Rosenthal, Larry A.
  • et al.

Land-use regulation is undertaken by units of local government and is notoriously hard to measure. This paper assembles and reports the results of five complementary and overlapping surveys of local regulation in the San Francisco Bay Area. We compile measures derived from surveys of public officials conducted in 1992 and 1998 and another completed in 2007. In addition, we survey the perceptions of regulation among developers and land-use intermediaries. A rich description and comparison of regulatory patterns is provided. The paper also investigates relationships among various measures of regulation and housing outcomes. We find, for example, that the entitlement process increases the cost of a new single family dwelling by almost $23,000 in the Bay Area. Moreover, the requirement of an additional review by governmental agents to gain approval of new developments is associated with a four-percent increase in the prices of existing owner-occupied housing.

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