The City of Asheville recently contracted with Mai Nguyen to compare Asheville’s efforts to create affordable housing with what is being done elsewhere. Yahoo Finance on March 5 declared Asheville was one of the least affordable areas in the country. Nguyen claims the reason well over a third of residents are cost-burdened is that so many people are “buying up second homes.”

To address the problem, Nguyen recommends setting up a land trust that will buy real estate and guarantee affordable housing will be constructed thereon, integrating low-income housing to avoid concentrated poverty, and dedicating a revenue stream (read tax increase) for affordable housing.

This late-night diatribe from a slow news day applies; especially the bit from Ezra Taft Benson. Asheville continues to reject proposals from builders who would increase supply while wanting to take more money from the private sector so government can create housing. Rather than calling the policy failed, I’ll just say it is energy-intensive.