The Musings of

Something full of magic, religion, bullsh*t.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Last one out, turn out the lights

I've said for years that certain urban areas are beginning to price themselves out of the market, and it looks like that is becoming true. Business Week (link is to summary due to subscription requirements) is reporting that residents are fleeing over-priced and over-taxed areas, like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York, for the very Red State cities of Las Vegas, Dallas/Ft. Worth, and Atlanta. One of the mind boggling facts presented is that, during the second quarter of 2004, 42% of California home sellers were moving out of state -- a rate twice as high as it was a year before. The bleeding is so severe that some must wait a month for moving vans.

BW attributes this trend to the general tax and price climate of the coastal cities, combined with the standardization of information availability across the country. With a cable line, computer and cell phone, many people can perform their jobs in Boise as easily as they can in San Diego. Prices are generally a product of supply and demand, but it appears much of the complaint can be traced either to high taxes or cost increases in heavily regulated areas, such as education and health care.

While it wasn't difficult to see this backlash coming, and it is tempting to smirk at the continuing problems of these hubs of Blue State progressivism, I am more interested in what these trends mean in the long term. Clearly, we are reaching a time where smaller cities in flyover country are become a more attractive alternative to the big "cool" cities on the coast. As the article noted, while retirees have long flooded the Sun Belt, it's something new to see Yuppies (is that word still in use?) moving there in droves. I would like to think of cities as the "laboratories of democracy" that the states are supposed to be -- that is, most else being neutral, I would like to have a true choice between low-tax "Red" cites and bustling, expensive "Blue" cities. I would never live in the latter, but clearly there are many who would. My concern is an age-old one, that as coastal urbanites move into these cheaper cultural havens, they will bring the same ideas and politics that screwed up their old home, homogenizing all areas, and eventually turning Atlanta into a blander version of Washington, D.C.

Oh, wait, that last thing already happened.
Centinel 10:37 PM #


Post a Comment