Repeal the Height Act Now

A blog about business and economics.
Oct. 2 2012 4:36 PM

Repeal the Height Act Now

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Legalize skyscrapers in Washington, D.C.!

Photograph by Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images.

Surprise surprise, but the Washington, D.C. area continues to have the lowest office vacancy rate in the nation even as it features some of the highest rents.

In the very short-term, this looks set to go up as federal spending declines, but the combination of high rents and low vacancy rates is the telltale influence of the fact that you can't build tall buildings in the District of Columbia. Letting taller buildings go up would be great for the city, creating jobs at all skill levels and growing the tax base. And for America as a whole, it would reduce the tendency of the federal government to need to overpay for office space and hotel rooms as it tries to conduct activity in an overly congested commercial real estate market.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

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