The one study showing it did is methodologically flawed and contradicted by the data
I would have liked to see more analysis of impact on rents in this piece. The data I've seen suggests a reduction in rents compared to other NZ cities that didn't have this change.
I also checked out the articles linked in the post about proponents for the change who were then unhappy about how it played out. I think these were presented in a misleading way: the problem identified in the article was carve-outs, ie specific areas that weren't upzoned and thus pushed the development into areas with less political power. In this case the problem was arguably not enough upzoning! You could argue that this will be the realpolitik of any such change, and should be taken into account as a possible downside. But the status quo seems to be most intensive development in areas with less political might, already.
Finally, the existence of a housing cycle doesn't, of itself, disprove a role for zoning. My understanding is that proponents of reform accept that there is a cycle - they just suggest that the cycle would be different without such zoning, with more properties being built at each different part of the cycle.
Interesting analysis. Do you have any explanation why Auckland's upzoning had a (seemingly) positive effect on rent and potentially house prices (https://onefinaleffort.com/auckland), if it was not through extra construction?
Makes you wonder what it takes to penetrate political minds. Have you covered a paper by Francesca Mari in The New York Times Magazine on 26 May 2023? For anyone interested the link: Mari, F. (2023). Imagine a renters’ Utopia — It might look like Vienna. The New York Times Magazine 26 May 2023. https://www.nytimes.com/2023/05/23/magazine/vienna-socialhousing.html?campaign_id=30&emc=edit_int_20230526&instance_id=93564&nl=theinterpreter&
It's a critique of market-based approaches (commodification of housing) - rent control, expropriation measures, upzoning versus non market ones as examplified by Vienna's approach.
When you look to the government to solve an economic problem, you're looking in the wrong place. 'Upzoning' is a government solution. The problem with government economic solutions is this ... the governemnt only looks at the immediate issue, never taking into account the overall economic impact. Of course this strategy is great for 'granting favors' which is a nice way of saying 'vote buying.' The government 'boot heal' is so strongly afixed to the housing market, that it's probably not accurate to even call it a market. The government boot heal includes, massive taxation, massive regulation, massive zoning. Get rid of the 'massive' government 'boot heal' and the problem is solved. Most government economic solutions look like this, 'a few people win, and win big, the rest of the people lose.' The extention of this is total government control of the economy - socialism. And the end result is always the same, 'a few people (the overlord political elites) win, and win big, and the rest of us lose - big time.
Tim, One can agree that 'Housing and property analysis struggles with the fact that markets are cyclical, locations are substitutes, consumption responds to price, and individuals migrate to improve their quality of life. Housing analysis faces many of the same problems as empirical macroeconomics—a lack of controls, idiosyncratic local factors, and more.'
Yes, probably lots more.
On the other side of the ledger it may be worth having a look at the methods used here: www.centreforcities.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/The-housebuilding-crisis-February-2023.pdf
There is no evidence that upzoning decreased housing construction, in a city with limited supply the counter could have been significantly detrimental.