Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Times at it again

Rent regs in the Times again. Amazing to me that they can print baldfaced lies. 

This was empirically studied in Boston:  when rents were deregulated, all rents rose. 

Mayer's key assumption is false. When the deregulated renters vacate, they don't disappear -- they have jobs and family in the city. They move to cheaper neighborhoods where their numbers create a much tighter market in those lower-income neighborhoods, raising rents, displacing more renters who in turn move down the ladder creating a tighter market down the line.

So deregulation would raise rents steeply for the middle class and those below. The highest renters alone might get a break. Deregulation is a win for landlords and maybe the wealthiest renters, a lose for everyone else. 

Building new units will increase supply and ease market rates. Since new units are not required to be regulated in New York, our rent regulations incentivize new unit construction. Deregulation would end that incentive: raising rents and evicting tenants are cheaper than building new housing. Deregulation will likely raise rents steeply across the board while tightening the market even more, driving the middle class out to the further reaches of the metro area. Deregulation is a gift to landlords at the expense of nearly everyone else.

NYC's rent regulations are healthy for its housing market except it's deeply unfair for new arrivals. The state should really get back into housing of all kinds -- upscale to low -- using the upscale housing to finance the rest.

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