Ryan Avent criticizes the building restrictions in California's coastal cities in arguing for the benefit of increased population density in cities. He contrasts the high house prices in cities like San Francisco and San Jose with Phoenix, which has few restrictions on building.
Phoenix may not be an ideal city for such a comparison. It was one of the cities that was most caught up in the bubble. Five years ago there would not have been anywhere as near as large a difference between house prices in the coastal cities and Phoenix.
Source: Case-Shiller 20 City Index.
It is not clear that the pattern in Phoenix's housing market is one that many cities would want to emulate.