A good place to live in California?

In my previous post, I suggested building a large new town called Camp Pendleton (between Orange and San Diego counties).

A commenter Suggested that this was not a good position:

I don’t know if the new city will still be in California, with all the excessive state regulations. And I hope that living there will be as expensive as all the other coastal California cities.

I share with many conservatives and liberals the idea that California is a rather poorly governed state, adversely affected by a wide range of hostile progressive policies. But I interpret that claim very differently from many other people on the right And I plan to show that I am right and they are wrong.

Here are two categories of bad California rules:

1. Progressive policies such as rent control, school closures, excessive state spending, pick-up business rules, poor crime control in places like San Francisco, etc.

2. A wide range of rules for zoning and permitting that make housing extremely difficult to build (both dense urban housing and suburban housing in Greenfield development.)

The first section contains a lot of bad policies, but the second section can be much more important, at least overall. How do I know this? Consider the impact of each policy section on California housing prices. The first group of regulations makes California a less desirable place to live and therefore lowers housing prices. In contrast, regulations that restrict new construction reduce supply and thus increase California housing prices. The market (high house prices) tells us that the second issue is more important and despite all the regulatory issues, California is a great place to build a new city. In fact, to some extent, this is a good place to build a new city Because Category # 2 within severe regulatory limitations.

When we bought a home in Orange County in 2016, it was worth the price of a house in the Boston area where we lived. Today (according to Zillow), the value of our Orange County home is much higher than the Massachusetts home we vacated. Its value increased by 80% in Massachusetts, vs. 40%. So why are homes so expensive in California, And yet the value rises rapidlyWhat if the state is a dystopian hell that everyone is fleeing to Texas and Florida?

The answer is simple; California is still a very interesting place for many people to live. And those “many people” are often fairly high-income people.

As a reader of the news media, I am aware of many problems with governance in California. But in my daily life, the problem of governance does not affect me very much:

1. OC roads are much better than behind Boston.

2. The University of California (where my daughter studied) is much better than the University of Massachusetts.

3. I don’t have to go through the annoying vehicle inspection process every year, like I did back in Boston.

To be sure, some things are worse. The home insurance industry is over-regulated, resulting in much higher premiums than Boston. I suspect the health insurance industry is also poorly regulated, but I’m not an expert in that area. Small business owners like landlords face lots of intrusive regulations. Taxes are high. There are many minor offenses in San Francisco. Covid regulations were often quite silly (but did not affect my life at all.)

Still, I think conservatives are making mistakes when they suggest that Californians are escaping a dystopian nightmare. The very high price of a home in this state suggests that the overall standard of living here is the highest in America. You may know someone who sold their California home and left because they hated California, but someone else bought that house at a very high price. Instead, the lesson conservatives should learn from California is that America’s biggest problem is the stupid barrier to building a home that prevents millions of people from moving to places with extremely high living standards. You can be Want to believe That’s a dystopian nightmare in California, but housing prices offer just the opposite. The biggest problem in California Much less People live here.

In January, I toured both coasts of Florida. Most recently, I visited the SF Bay Area and then returned to Orange County, stopping at various locations along the way. The SF Bay Area, Monterey, Santa Barbara, Ventura County, West LA, Orange County and San Diego are some of the best places to live in the world. Inland Empire is less attractive, but still not worse than Arizona or Nevada. Florida is much less attractive than coastal California.

This does not mean that California has better state governments than Florida. In terms of economic regulations, Florida is much better managed. I blame two reasons for California’s success. First of all, it has a great climate and beautiful scenery. Which attracts people. (Florida has a nice climate but ugly scenery.) Second, before the state fell into the hands of progressives, it attracted important industries of the 21st century. Through a combination of good natural amenities and collective advantages, they have been able to sustain those creative industries in spite of a growing regulatory environment. Highly skilled people also tend to be socially liberal, and California is very socially liberal. In fact, it is much more liberal on social issues than in places like Massachusetts (which still has a Puritan streak).

When my commenter suggested that the new city would be as expensive as any other coastal city, he was right. (Although this will reduce the price a bit across the region.) But he misunderstood the meaning of that fact. If 500,000 Americans want to build a million dollar house in my new city of Pendleton, that means the new city will be very valuable to America.

PS Let me guess some comments. You tell me this or that bad thing about California. I would agree, but arguing that higher housing prices show that good is more than bad.

PPS. I don’t like the name Pendleton for my proposed new town. How about Utopia, CA? Or “Irvine 2.0”, the company that arguably built the city with the highest standard of living in the world for cities with more than 250,000 people? Or (in the context of the current drought) Greenland? 3

PPS. Florida has a nice climate, but California is great:

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