FT Graph Comprehension and Policy Recommendation — Evaluations

FT Graph Comprehension and Policy Recommendation — Evaluations

3 rows

Evaluation Input Image

Describe this graph. Follow this with policy recommendations you would make based on the graphs content as an expert in the field?

This graph seems to be divided into two related parts illustrating urban development trends in Texas and California over a span of two decades, from 2000 to approximately 2020.

Graph Description

  • Left Y-axis (Red Lines): Represents new dwelling approvals per 1,000 people on a rolling 12-month total, which provides a measure of building permit activity.

  • Right Y-axis (Blue Lines): Indicates the change in real house prices since January 2000, expressed in percentage increase, thus providing insight into housing affordability and market trends.

  • X-axis: Shows time from the year 2000 to 2020.

  • Lines:

    • Austin (Bold Red Line): Shows a significant peak in new dwelling approvals around 2020, with a marked drop after the peak.
    • Houston (Lighter Red Line): Displays moderate volatility in home approvals but is generally stable compared to Austin.
    • Other Texan Cities (Dashed Red Line): Indicates lower and stable building permits issued compared to Austin and Houston.
    • San Francisco (Bold Blue Line): Shows a steep increase in real house prices, indicating less affordability.
    • Other Californian Cities (Dashed Blue Line): Similar trajectory as San Francisco, with a less steep increase.


Liberal planning regulations in Texan cities have allowed for a higher rate of new dwelling approvals compared to Californian cities, where regulatory environments might be stricter. The high rate of new dwelling approvals in Texan cities correlates with a lower increase in house prices compared to Californian cities, suggesting that increased housing supply helps to control price inflation and thus improves affordability.

Policy Recommendations

  1. Encourage Liberal Planning Policies:

    • Other states could consider liberalizing planning regulations to mimic the Texas model, increasing housing supply and curb price inflation.
  2. Focused Housing Supply Interventions in High-Demand Areas:

    • In places like San Francisco, targeted interventions to increase housing supply could help to manage soaring house prices.
  3. Monitoring and Evaluation:

    • Regular monitoring of housing supply and price trends should be maintained to ensure that housing remains affordable and that supply is meeting demand.
  4. Flexible Zoning Laws:

    • Implement and encourage flexible zoning laws that can be adjusted based on current housing market demands and economic conditions.
  5. Support for Infrastructure:

    • Support infrastructure developments that facilitate new housing developments, especially in urban areas facing severe housing shortages.
  6. Incentives for Developers:

    • Providing tax incentives and subsidies to developers who build in under-supplied markets could also help to increase the housing stock.
  7. Public-Private Partnerships:

    • Encourage public-private partnerships to develop housing projects that cater to both middle and low-income households, ensuring diversity in housing options.

These policies could help balance housing supply with demand, making homes more affordable and available to wider populations.

Evaluation Input Image

Describe this graph. Follow this with policy recommendations you would make based on the graphs content as an expert in the field?

This graph is a dual axis chart comparing the number of new dwelling approvals per 1,000 people (rolling 12-month total) and the change in real house prices since January 2000 for specific cities in California and Texas.

On the left y-axis, we have the metric for new dwelling approvals per 1,000 people, indicating the rate at which new residential housing units have been authorized for construction. On the right y-axis, there's the percentage change in real house prices since January 2000, which measures inflation-adjusted price changes over time.

The graph is segmented into two main colors, red for Texan cities and blue for Californian cities. Specific focus is given to Austin and Houston in Texas, and San Francisco in California, with additional generalized lines for "Other Texan cities" and "Other Californian cities."

Based on the graph:

  • Texan cities, especially Austin and to a lesser extent Houston, show more significant fluctuations in new dwelling approvals but a more moderate increase in house prices.
  • Californian cities, particularly San Francisco, display a steep increase in house prices with more stability but generally lower rates of new housing approvals.

From the given data, it seems Texan cities build more housing per capita, potentially contributing to keeping house prices more stable compared to Californian cities, where tighter planning regulations might be limiting the growth of housing supply, leading to steeper price increases.

As an expert in the field making policy recommendations based on the graph's content, one might consider the following:

  1. Encourage Californian cities to reform zoning and planning regulations to facilitate a higher rate of new dwelling approvals, aiming to increase the housing supply to meet demand and help stabilize or reduce housing price growth.

  2. Implement measures to ensure the sustainability and quality of new housing developments, such as environmental assessments, infrastructure support, and community amenities, to maintain living standards while increasing density.

  3. Investigate and potentially adopt Texan practices that enable more efficient housing development, adapting them to local Californian contexts while considering environmental constraints and long-term urban planning goals.

  4. Foster collaborative initiatives between government, developers, and communities to streamline approval processes, reduce bureaucratic hurdles, and incentivize the construction of affordable housing.

  5. Monitor housing market trends closely to adjust policies as necessary, ensuring that increased housing supply correlates with improved affordability without leading to overdevelopment or housing market bubbles.

Evaluation Input Image

Describe this graph. Follow this with policy recommendations you would make based on the graphs content as an expert in the field?

The graph shows the number of new dwelling approvals per 1,000 people over a 12-month rolling period for several major cities in Texas and California from 2000 to 2020. The Texas cities, especially Austin, have seen a sharp increase in approvals, reaching nearly 20 per 1,000 people in Austin's case. The California cities and Houston have had much lower and flatter approval rates, staying below 5 per 1,000 throughout the period.

The second graph shows the change in real house prices since 2000 for those same cities. San Francisco has seen by far the largest increase at around 150%, while the other California cities have gone up about 100%. The Texas cities, in contrast, have seen almost no change in real prices over the 20 year period.

As an expert in urban planning and housing policy, a few recommendations come to mind based on this data:

  1. California cities should look to reform zoning and permitting processes to allow more housing construction, especially dense infill development. The lack of new supply is a major factor driving prices up.

  2. Texas cities, while building a lot, should make sure growth pays for itself in terms of infrastructure and services to maintain quality of life. Impact fees and taxes may need adjusting.

  3. All the cities should prioritize affordable housing inclusion as they grow, such as requiring certain percentages of below-market units in new developments. The market alone will not provide for lower income residents.

  4. Regional cooperation on transportation, economic development, open space preservation and other issues is crucial as metropolitan areas spread across jurisdictions. Coordinated planning enables smart, sustainable growth.

While there's no one-size-fits-all solution, this data makes a strong case that allowing more construction while carefully managing development can provide needed housing without sacrificing affordability. It will take bold but thoughtful municipal leadership to enact the right policies for each unique context. Getting housing and planning right is essential for the health and prosperity of our cities.

Rows per page

Page 1 of 1


FT Graph Comprehension and Policy Recommendation
Input ID
March 12, 2024