7.29.2015

How Not to Solve Cities' Housing Affordability Problem

Stockholm Letter IMAGE 1Growing economic inequality is a flashpoint issue in America's cities, and housing affordability is a big component of that.  I can't say I know the best way forward, but I can say that placing artificial constraints on rent levels and on housing supply is not it and in fact is terribly counter-productive.  Here's an article about why rent control in Seattle would result in incredibly long waits, and here's an article about how rabid anti-development sentiment created San Francisco's affordability crisis.

Capitalism isn't the solution to all of life's problems, and it's not without its downsides.  But there is much to be gained in giving room for builders and landlords to respond to market demand.  And there is much that is lost when that market demand signal is preempted by government regulation and public opposition.
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