NEW YORK, NY — As cities across the country struggle with rising housing costs, left-leaning policymakers like Sen. Sanders and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez have responded with proposals for nationwide rent control. In the latest from the Manhattan Institute’s Issues 2020 series, director of state and local policy Michael Hendrix evaluates the effects of rent control, finding that it is ultimately a counterproductive approach to increasing the amount of affordable housing. Rather than cap rents, cities should aim to increase supply: housing cannot become more affordable without becoming more available.
Those pushing for rent control are responding to a real problem: America’s housing market is increasingly unaffordable. Unfortunately, this response is ultimately misguided and would do more harm than good. Hendrix’s key findings include:
- Rent control makes it harder to find an apartment. Cities that implement rent control see substantial declines in the availability of rental housing.
- Rent control does not increase diversity. It benefits incumbent tenants at the expense of migrants hoping to relocate to a city.
- Rent control degrades the quality of its beneficiaries’ housing. It reduces investment in a property’s quality and causes a city’s housing stock to decay over time.
About Issues 2020
The Issues 2020 series applies the Manhattan Institute’s breadth and depth of expertise on major issues of national public policy to the key arguments and proposals of the 2020 presidential campaigns. MI scholars identify where the central claims driving key debates reflect fundamental misunderstandings about what is happening in America. With succinct explanations of what the data show, they provide a much-needed corrective and a solid foundation for political debates about the nation’s future. Click here to read more.