The council of Maple County, concerned about the county's becoming overdeveloped, is debating a proposed measure that would prevent the development of existing farmland in the county. But the council is also concerned that such a restriction, by limiting the supply of new housing, could lead to significant increases in the price of housing in the county. Proponents of the measure note that Chestnut County established a similar measure ten years ago, and its housing prices have increased only modestly since. However, opponents of the measure note that Pine County adopted restrictions on the development of new residential housing fifteen years ago, and its housing prices have since more than doubled. The council currently predicts that the proposed measure, if passed, will result in a significant increase in housing prices in Maple County.
Write a response in which you discuss what questions would need to be answered in order to decide whether the prediction and the argument on which it is based are reasonable. Be sure to explain how the answers to these questions would help to evaluate the prediction.
The council of Maple County is debating about a measure proposed to prevent the development of existing farmland to ease the concern of the county being overdeveloped. In this debate, the two sides use Chestnut County and Pine County as references. Similar restrictions on the supply of new housing have been put into effect in two counties, but the results were drastically different. Despite a slight increase in the housing prices in Chestnut County, the council of Maple County predicts that the housing prices of Maple County will increase significantly like Pine County did before. However, the validity of this prediction needs to be carefully examined by considering a few some questions.
To begin with, whether Maple County’s overdeveloped remains questionable without any further support like statistical data or research reports. Therefore, we need to ask whether Maple County are really suffering from unreasonably fast rate of development in land usage or not. Obviously, there is a chance that this concern is only a groundless speculation. That is to say, the utilization of lands in Maple County may well be within the normal range, and there might be vast land supply that could be converted when necessary. Under such conditions, there is no need to carry out such restriction in the first place. Even applied, the restriction may not lead to accelerating housing prices. However, if new information, such as land use statistics, could corroborate the council’s concern, then the necessity of the proposed measure will be more convincing.
Second, Pine County’s increasing housing prices post policy implementation needs a second look. Can such an increase be safely attributed to restrictions on housing development? For instance, Pine County might has a quite lower basic housing price fifty years ago, which would exaggerate the significance of doubling housing prices. At the same time, there are also possibilities that other factors like population explosion which increased the demand of houses might create a shortage in housing supply. In those cases, the influence of restrictions on the housing prices may be well over-estimated.
Granted that the Maple County is indeed becoming overdeveloped, and restrictions focusing on the usage of farmland in Pine County was effective, we should also carefully ponder the reference value of data from Pine County and Chestnut County before evaluating the final prediction. In the argument, the council projects that housing prices of Maple County will experience a significant increase, based on Pine County’s doubling housing prices since restrictions on the development of new residential housing were adopted 15 years ago. However, at least two questions need to be raised here. Firstly, do Maple County share similar population bases and economic structures that Pine County had 15 years ago? If the answer is positive, then Maple’s housing prices may follow the same increasing trend. Yet if these two counties have little in common or Maple County is closer to Chestnut County in these aspects, then maybe no apparent price raise will happen after the implementation of development restrictions in Maple County.
Finally, even if Pine County’s data can be highly valued as reference, will the significant increase in housing prices happen as inevitable result after restricting the conversion of farmlands? Since the proposed measure is only targeting farmlands, there may exist other kinds of available lands like industrial ones or mountain regions for property developers or other organizations to use. Besides, government may also introduce new policies to control the housing prices before they increase sharply.
To sum up, only after these questions are adequately addressed can we effectively evaluate the council’s prediction and reach a sound conclusion.