Comparing housing prices in Los Angeles with those in Atlanta using a graph very similar to those used by the Antiplanner, Paul Krugman remakes the point that the United States did not have one housing bubble: it had many. And, he adds, the bubbles were caused by land-use regulation, while places that did not have government constraints on land did not have bubbles.
The Economist makes the point, previously made by the Antiplanner (on p. 115 of Best-Laid Plans, that volatile housing prices reduces mobility and increases unemployment rates. When home prices drop and homebuyers find themselves “underwater,” some won’t leave even for better jobs elsewhere because they can’t afford to lose the house.
Unfortunately, most of the people who commented on the Economist article conclude that this means people are better off renting than buying. This may be true if you live in a region infested by smart-growth planners. But in relatively free housing markets, buying remains better for most of those who can afford the down payment — not because of the economic return you get from buying but because homeowners enjoy a higher quality of life.